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A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 



BOOKS BY 
MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

THE CORYSTON FAMILY 

ELEANOR 

FENWICK'S CAREER 

LADY ROSE'S DAUGHTER 

THE MARRIAGE OF WILLIAM ASHE 

THE TESTING OF DIANA MALLORY 

LIFE OF W. T. ARNOLD 



HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK 

[ESTABLISHED 1817] 




[See page 4 



DR. THOMAS ARNOLD OF RUGBY 



A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 

BY 

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Author of 

"ELEANOR" "LADY ROSE'S DAUGHTER" 
"THE TESTING OF DIANA MALLORY" ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED 



VOLUME I 




HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON 



PR 



hSS 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 



Copyright, 1918. by Harper & Brother* 

Printed in the United States of America 

Published November, 1918 

L-S 



To 
T. H. W. 

(In memory of April 6, 1872) 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. EARLY DATS 1 

II. Fox How 31 

III. THE FAMILY OF Fox How 45 

IV. OTHER CHILDREN OP Fox How 78 

V. THE FRIENDS OP Fox How 101 

VI. YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 129 

VII. BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 168 

VIII. EARLY MARRIED LIFE 188 

IX. THE BEGINNINGS OF "ROBERT ELSMERE" . . 216 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



DR. THOMAS ARNOLD OP RUGBY ...... 

MATTHEW ARNOLD . . ) 

I ......... Facing p. 14 

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN J 

Fox How, THE WESTMORLAND HOME OP THE 

ARNOLDS ............. 80 

BENJAMIN JOWETT . ........ " 168 



A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 



A WRITER'S 
RECOLLECTIONS 

CHAPTER I 

EARLY DAYS 

we all become garrulous and confi- 
dential as we approach the gates of 
old age? Is it that we instinctively feel, 
and cannot help asserting, our one advan- 
tage over the younger generation, which 
has so many over us? the one advantage 
of time! 

After all, it is not disputable that we 
have lived longer than they. When they 
talk of past poets, or politicians, or novelists, 
whom the young still deign to remember, of 
whom for once their estimate agrees with 
ours, we can sometimes put in a quiet, 
"I saw him" or, "I talked with him" 
which for the moment wins the conversa- 
tional race. And as we elders fall back 
before the brilliance and glitter of the New 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Age, advancing "like an army with ban- 
ners," this mere prerogative of years becomes 
in itself a precious possession. After all, 
we cannot divest ourselves of it, if we would. 
It is better to make friends with it to turn 
it into a kind of panache to wear it with an 
air, since wear it we must. 

So as the years draw on toward the Biblical 
limit, the inclination to look back, and to 
tell some sort of story of what one has seen, 
grows upon most of us. I cannot hope that 
what I have to say will be very interesting 
to many. A life spent largely among books, 
and in the exercise of a literary profession, 
has very obvious drawbacks, as a subject- 
matter, when one comes to write about it. 
I can only attempt it with any success, if 
my readers will allow me a large psycho- 
logical element. The thoughts and opinions 
of one human being, if they are sincere, 
must always have an interest for some other 
human beings. The world is there to think 
about; and if we have lived, or are living, 
with any sort of energy, we must have 
thought about it, and about ourselves in re- 
lation to it thought " furiously" often. And 
it is out of the many "thinkings" of many 
folk, strong or weak, dull or far-ranging, 
that thought itself grows. For progress 
surely, whether in men or nations, means 



EARLY DAYS 

only a richer knowledge; the more impres- 
sions, therefore, on the human intelligence 
that we can seize and record, the more sen- 
sitive becomes that intelligence itself. 

But of course the difficulty lies in the 
seizing and recording in the choice, that is, 
of what to say, and how to say it. In this 
choice, as I look back over more than half a 
century, I can only follow and trust the 
same sort of instinct that one follows in the 
art of fiction. I shall be telling what is 
primarily true, or as true as I can make it, 
as distinguished from what is primarily 
imagination, built on truth. But the truth 
one uses in fiction must be interesting! 
Milton expresses that in the words "sen- 
suous" and "passionate," which he applies 
to poetry in the Areopagitica. And the same 
thing applies to autobiography, where selec- 
tion is even more necessary than in fiction. 
Nothing ought to be told, I think, that does 
not interest or kindle one's own mind in 
looking back; it is the only condition on 
which one can hope to interest or kindle 
other minds. And this means that one 
ought to handle things broadly, taking only 
the salient points in the landscape of the 
past, and of course with as much detach- 
ment as possible. Though probably in the 
end one will have to admit egotists that 

L-2 3 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

we all are! that not much detachment is 
possible. 

For me, the first point that stands out is 
the arrival of a little girl of five, in the year 
1856, at a gray-stone house in a Westmor- 
land valley, where, fourteen years earlier, 
the children of Arnold of Rugby, the 
" Doctor" of Tom Brown's Schooldays, had 
waited on a June day, to greet their father, 
expected from the South, only to hear, 
as the summer day died away, that two 
hours' sharp illness, that very morning, had 
taken him from them. Of what preceded 
my arrival as a black-haired, dark-eyed child, 
with my father, mother, and two brothers, 
at Fox How, the holiday house among the 
mountains which the famous headmaster had 
built for himself in 1834, I have but little 
recollection. I see dimly another house in 
wide fields, where dwarf lilies grew, and I 
know that it was a house in Tasmania, where 
at the time of my birth my father, Thomas 
Arnold, the Doctor's second son, was or- 
ganizing education in the young colony. I 
can just recall, too, the deck of a ship 
which to my childish feet seemed vast but 
the William Brown was a sailing-ship of 
only 400 tons! in which we made the voy- 
age home in 1856. Three months and a 
half we took about it, going round the Horn 

4 



EARLY DAYS 

in bitter weather, much run over by rats 
at night, and expected to take our baths 
by day in two huge barrels full of sea water 
on the deck, into which we children were 
plunged shivering by our nurse, two or three 
times a week. My father and mother, their 
three children, and some small cousins, who 
were going to England under my mother's 
care, were the only passengers. 

I can remember, too, being lifted weak 
and miserable with toothache in my fa- 
ther's arms to catch the first sight of English 
shores as we neared the mouth of the 
Thames; and then the dismal inn by the 
docks where we first took shelter. The 
dreary room where we children slept the 
first night, its dingy ugliness and its barred 
windows, still come back to me as a vision 
of horror. Next day, like angels of rescue, 
came an aunt and uncle, who took us away 
to other and cheerful quarters, and pres- 
ently saw us off to Westmorland. The aunt 
was my godmother, Doctor Arnold's eldest 
daughter then the young wife of William 
Edward Forster, a Quaker manufacturer, who 
afterward became the well-known Education 
Minister of 1870, and was Chief Secretary for 
Ireland in the terrible years 1880-82. 

To my mother and her children, Fox How 
and its inmates represented much that was 

5 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

new and strange. My mother was the grand- 
daughter of one of the first Governors of 
Tasmania, Governor Sorell, and had been 
brought up in the colony, except for a brief 
schooling at Brussels. Of her personal beauty 
in youth we children heard much, as we 
grew up, from her old Tasmanian friends 
and kinsfolk who would occasionally drift 
across us; and I see as though I had been 
there a scene often described to me my 
mother playing Hermione in the " Winter's 
Tale/' at Government House when Sir Will- 
iam Denison was Governor a vision, lovely 
and motionless, on her pedestal, till at the 
words, "Music! awake her! Strike!" she 
kindled into life. Her family were probably 
French in origin. Governor Sorell had been 
a man of promise in his youth. His father, 
General William Alexander Sorell, of the 
Coldstream Guards, was a soldier of some 
eminence, whose two sons, William and 
Thomas, both served under Sir John Moore 
and at the Cape. But my great-grandfather 
ruined his military career, while he was 
Deputy Adjutant-General at the Cape, by a 
love-affair with a brother officer's wife, and 
was banished or promoted whichever one 
pleases to call it to the new colony of Tas- 
mania, of which he became Governor in 

1816. His eldest son, by the wife he had left 

6 



EARLY DAYS 

behind him in England, went out as a youth 
of twenty-one or so, to join his father, the 
Governor, in Tasmania, and I possess a little 
calf-bound diary of my grandfather written 
in a very delicate and refined hand, about 
the year 1823. The faint entries in it show 
him to have been a devoted son. But when, 
in 1830 or so, the Governor left the colony, 
and retired to Brussels, my grandfather re- 
mained in Van Diemen's Land, as it was 
then generally called, became very much 
attached to the colony, and filled the post 
of Registrar of Deeds for many years under 
its successive Governors. I just remember 
him, as a gentle, affectionate, upright be- 
ing, a gentleman of an old, punctilious 
school, strictly honorable and exact, con- 
tent with a small sphere, and much loved 
within it. He would sometimes talk to his 
children of early days in Bath, of his father's 
young successes and promotions, and of his 
grandfather, General Sorell, who, as Adju- 
tant of the Coldstream Guards from 1744 
to 1758, and associated with all the home 
and foreign service of that famous regiment 
during those years, through the Seven 
Years' War, and up to the opening of the 
American War of Independence, played a 
vaguely brilliant part in his grandson's recol- 
lections. But he himself was quite content 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

with the modest affairs of an infant colony, 
which even in its earliest days achieved, 
whether in its landscape or its life, a curi- 
ously English effect; as though an English 
midland county had somehow got loose and, 
drifting to the Southern seas, had there set 
up barring a few black aborigines, a few 
convicts, its mimosas, and its tree-ferns 
another quiet version of the quiet English 
life it had left behind. 

But the Sorells, all the same, had some 
foreign and excitable blood in them. Their 
story of themselves was that they were 
French Huguenots, expelled in 1685, who 
had settled in England and, coming of a 
military stock, had naturally sought careers 
in the English army. There are points in 
this story which are puzzling; but the foreign 
touch in my mother, and in the Governor 
to judge from the only picture of him which 
remains was unmistakable. Delicate feat- 
ures, small, beautifully shaped hands and 
feet, were accompanied in my mother by a 
French vivacity and quickness, an overflow- 
ing energy, which never forsook her through 
all her trials and misfortunes. In the Gov- 
ernor, the same physical characteristics make 
a rather decadent and foppish impression 
as of an old stock run to seed. The stock 
had been reinvigorated in my mother, and 

8 



EARLY DAYS 

one of its original elements which certainly 
survived in her temperament and tradition 
was of great importance both for her own 
life and for her children's. This was the 
Protestant the French Protestant ele- 
ment; which no doubt represented in the 
family from which she came a history of 
long suffering at the hands of Catholicism. 
Looking back upon her Protestantism, I see 
that it was not the least like English Evan- 
gelicalism, whether of the Anglican or dis- 
senting type. There was nothing emotional 
or " enthusiastic" in it no breath of Wesley 
or Wilberforce; but rather something drawn 
from deep wells of history, instinctive and 
invincible. Had some direct Calvinist an- 
cestor of hers, with a soul on fire, fought 
the tyranny of Bossuet and Madame de 
Maintenon, before eternally hating and re- 
senting "Papistry'' he abandoned his coun- 
try and kinsfolk, in the search for religious 
liberty? That is the impression which 
looking back upon her life it often makes 
upon me. All the more strange that to her 
it fell, unwittingly, imagining, indeed, that 
by her marriage with a son of Arnold of 
Rugby she was taking a step precisely in 
the opposite direction, to be, by a kind of 
tragic surprise, which yet was no one's 
fault, the wife of a Catholic. 

9 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

And that brings me to my father, whose 
character and story were so important to 
all his children that I must try and draw 
them, though I cannot pretend to any im- 
partiality in doing so only to the insight 
that affection gives; its one abiding advan- 
tage over the critic and the stranger. 

He was the second son of Doctor Arnold 
of Rugby, and the younger brother by only 
eleven months of Matthew Arnold. On 
that morning of June 12, 1842, when the 
headmaster who in fourteen years' rule at 
Rugby had made himself so conspicuous a 
place, not merely in the public-school world, 
but in English life generally, 1 arose, in the 
words of his poet son to tread 

In the summer morning, the road 
Of death, at a call unforeseen 
Sudden 

my father, a boy of eighteen, was in the 
house, and witnessed the fatal attack of 

*At the moment of correcting these proofs, my attention 
has been called to a foolish essay on my grandfather by Mr. 
Lytton Strachey, none the less foolish because it is the work 
of an extremely clever man. If Mr. Strachey imagines that 
the effect of my grandfather's life and character upon men 
like Stanley and Clough, or a score of others who could be 
named, can be accounted for by the eidolon he presents to his 
readers in place of the real human being, one can only regard 
it as one proof the more of the ease with which a certain kind 
of ability outwits itself. 



EARLY DAYS 

angina pectoris which, in two hours, cut 
short a memorable career, and left those who 
till then, under a great man's shelter and 
keeping, had 

Rested as under the boughs 
Of a mighty oak. . . . 
Bare, unshaded, alone. 

He had been his father's special favorite 
among the elder children, as shown by some 
verses in my keeping addressed to him as a 
small boy, at different times, by "the Doc- 
tor." Those who know their Tom Brown's 
Schooldays will perhaps remember the various 
passages in the book where the softer quali- 
ties of the man whom "three hundred reck- 
less childish boys" feared with all their 
hearts, "and very little besides in heaven or 
earth," are made plain in the language of 
that date. Arthur's illness, for instance^ 
when the little fellow, who has been at 
death's door, tells Tom Brown, who is at last 
allowed to see him: "You can't think what 
the Doctor's like when one's ill. He said 
such brave and tender and gentle things to 
me I felt quite light and strong after it, 
and never had any more fear." Or East's 
talk with the Doctor, when the lively boy 
of many scrapes has a moral return upon 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

himself, and says to his best friend: "You 
can't think how kind and gentle he was, the 
great grim man, whom I've feared more than 
anybody on earth. When I stuck, he lifted 
me, just as if I'd been a little child. And 
he seemed to know all I'd felt, and to have 
gone through it all." This tenderness and 
charm of a strong man, which in Stanley's 
biography is specially mentioned as growing 
more and more visible in the last months of 
his life, was always there for his children. 
In a letter written in 1828 to his sister, when 
my father as a small child not yet five was 
supposed to be dying, Arnold says, trying 
to steel himself against the bitterness of 
coming loss, "I might have loved him, had 
he lived, too dearly you know how deeply 
I do love him now." And three years later, 
when " little Tom," on his eighth birthday, 
had just said, wistfully with a curious fore- 
boding instinct, "I think that the eight 
years I have now lived will be the happiest 
of my life," Arnold, painfully struck by 
the words, wrote some verses upon them 
which I still possess. "The Doctor" was no 
poet, though the best of his historical prose 
the well-known passage in the Roman 
History, for instance, on the death of Mar- 
cellus has some of the essential notes of 

poetry passion, strength, music. But the 

12 



EARLY DAYS 

gentle Wordsworthian quality of his few 
essays in verse will be perhaps interesting 
to those who are aware of him chiefly as 
the great Liberal fighter of eighty years ago. 
He replies to his little son: 

Is it that aught prophetic stirred 
Thy spirit to that ominous word, 

Foredating in thy childish mind 
The fortune of thy Life's career- 
That naught of brighter bliss shall cheer 

What still remains behind? 

Or is thy Life so full of bliss 

That, come what may, more blessed than this 

Thou canst not be again? 
And fear'st thou, standing on the shore, 
What storms disturb with wild uproar 

The years of older men? 

At once to enjoy, at once to hope 
That fills indeed the largest scope 

Of good our thoughts can reach. 
Where can we learn so blest a rule, 
What wisest sage, what happiest school, 

Art so divine can teach? 

The answer, of course, in the mouth of 
a Christian teacher is that in Christianity 
alone is there both present joy and future 
hope. The passages in Arnold's most inti- 
mate diary, discovered after his death, and 

13 



published by Dean Stanley, show what the 
Christian faith was to my grandfather, how 
closely bound up with every action and 
feeling of his life. The impression made 
by his conception of that faith, as interpreted 
by his own daily life, upon a great school, and, 
through the many strong and able men who 
went out from it, upon English thought and 
feeling, is a part of English religious history. 
But curiously enough the impression upon 
his own sons appeared, at any rate, to be 
less strong and lasting than in the case of 
others. I mean, of course, in the matter 
of opinion. The famous father died, and 
his children had to face the world without 
his guiding hand. Matthew and Tom, Will- 
iam and Edward, the eldest four sons, went 
in due time to Oxford, and the youngest boy 
into the Navy. My grandmother made her 
home at Fox How under the shelter of the 
fells, with her four daughters, the youngest 
of whom was only eight when their father 
died. The devotion of all the nine children 
to their mother, to one another, and to the 
common home was never weakened for a 
moment by the varieties of opinion that life 
was sure to bring out in the strong brood 
of strong parents. But the development of 
the elder two sons at the University was 
probably very different from what it would 

14 







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^.1 




EARLY DAYS 

have been had their father lived. Neither 
of them, indeed, ever showed, while there, 
the smallest tendency to the "Newmanism" 
which Arnold of Rugby had fought with all 
his powers; which he had denounced with 
such vehemence in the Edinburgh article on 
"The Oxford Malignants." My father was 
at Oxford all through the agitated years 
which preceded Newman's secession from the 
Anglican communion. He had rooms in 
University College in the High Street, nearly 
opposite St. Mary's, in which John Henry 
Newman, then its Vicar, delivered Sunday 
after Sunday those sermons which will never 
be forgotten by the Anglican Church. But 
my father only once crossed the street to 
hear him, and was then repelled by the man- 
nerism of the preacher. Matthew Arnold 
occasionally went, out of admiration, my 
father used to say, for that strange New- 
manic power of words, which in itself fasci- 
nated the young Balliol poet, who was to 
produce his first volume of poems two years 
after Newman's secession to the Church of 
Rome. But he was never touched in the 
smallest degree by Newman's opinions. He 
and my father and Arthur Clough, and 'a 
few other kindred spirits, lived indeed in 
quite another world of thought. They dis- 
covered George Sand, Emerson, and Car- 

15 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

lyle, and orthodox Christianity no longer 
seemed to them the sure refuge that it had 
always been to the strong teacher who 
trained them as boys. There are many al- 
lusions of many dates in the letters of my 
father and uncle to each other, as to their 
common Oxford passion for George Sand. 
Consuelo, in particular, was a revelation to 
the two young men brought up under the 
"earnest" influence of Rugby. It seemed to 
open to them a world of artistic beauty and 
joy of which they had never dreamed; and 
to loosen the bands of an austere conception 
of life, which began to appear to them too 
narrow for the facts of life. Wilhelm Meister, 
read in Carlyle's translation at the same time, 
exercised a similar liberating and enchanting 
power upon my father. The social enthusi- 
asms of George Sand also affected him 
greatly, strengthening whatever he had in- 
herited of his father's generous discontent 
with an iron world, where the poor suffer too 
much and work too hard. And this discontent, 
when the time came for him to leave Oxford, 
assumed a form which startled his friends. 

He had done very well at Oxford, taking 
his two Firsts with ease, and was offered a 
post in the Colonial Office immediately on 
leaving the University. But the time was 
full of schemes for a new heaven and a 

16 



EARLY DAYS 

new earth, wherein should dwell equality and 
righteousness. The storm of 1848 was pre- 
paring in Europe; the Corn Laws had fallen; 
the Chartists were gathering in England. 
To settle down to the old humdrum round of 
Civil Service promotion seemed to my father 
impossible. This revolt of his, and its effect 
upon his friends, of whom the most intimate 
was Arthur Clough, has left its mark on 
Clough's poem, the "Vacation Pastoral," 
which he called "The Bothie of Tober-na- 
Vuolich," or, as it runs in my father's old 
battered copy which lies before me, "Tober- 
na-Fuosich." The Philip of the poem, the 
dreamer and democrat, who says to Adam 
the Tutor- 
Alas, the noted phrase of the prayer-book 
Doing our duty in that state of life to which God 

has called us, 
Seems to me always to mean, when the little rich 

boys say it, 
Standing in velvet frock by Mania's brocaded 

flounces, 
Eying her gold-fastened book, and the chain and 

watch at her bosom, 
Seems to me always to mean, Eat, drink, and 

never mind others 

was in broad outline drawn from my father, 
and the impression made by his idealist, 

17 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

enthusiastic youth upon his comrades. And 
Philip's migration to the Antipodes at the 
end when he 

rounded the sphere to New Zealand, 
There he hewed and dug; subdued the earth and 
his spirit 

was certainly suggested by my father's 
similar step in 1847, the year before the 
poem appeared. Only in my father's life 
there had been as yet no parallel to the 
charming love-story of "The Bothie." His 
love-story awaited him on the other side of 
the world. 

At that moment, New Zealand, the land 
of beautiful mountain and sea, with its even 
temperate climate, and its natives whom 
English enthusiasm hoped not only to 
govern, but to civilize and assimilate, was 
in the minds of all to whom the colonies 
seemed to offer chances of social recon- 
struction beyond any that were possible 
in a crowded and decadent Europe. 
"Land of Hope," I find it often called in 
these old letters. "The gleam" was on 
it, and my father, like Browning's War- 
ing, heard the call. 

After it; follow it. Follow the gleam! 

18 



EARLY DAYS 

He writes to his mother in August, 1847, 
from the Colonial Office: 

Every one whom I meet pities me for having 
to return to London at this dull season, but to 
my own feelings, it is not worse than at other 
times. The things which would make me loathe 
the thought of passing my life or even several 
years in London, do not depend on summer or 
winter. It is the chronic, not the acute ills of 
London life which are real ills to me. I meant 
to have talked to you again before I left home 
about New Zealand, but I could not find a good 
opportunity. I do not think you will be sur- 
prised to hear that I cannot give up my inten- 
tion though you may think me wrong, you will 
believe that no cold - heartedness towards home 
has assisted me in framing my resolution. 
Where or how we shall meet on this side the 
grave will be arranged for us by a wiser will 
than our own. To me, however strange and 
paradoxical it may sound, this going to New 
Zealand is become a work of faith, and I cannot 
but go through with it. 

And later on when his plans are settled, 
he writes in exultation to his eldest sister: 

The weather is gusty and rainy, but no cheer- 
lessness without can repress a sort of exuberant 
buoyancy of spirit which is supplied to me from 
within. There is such an indescribable blessed- 

I.-3 19 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ness in looking forward to a manner of life which 
the heart and conscience approve, and which at 
the same time satisfies the instinct for the heroic 
and beautiful. Yet there seems little enough in 
a homely life in a New Zealand forest; and in- 
deed there is nothing in the thing itself, except 
hi so far as it flows from a principle, a faith. 

And he goes on to speak in vague exalted 
words of the "equality" and "brotherhood" 
to which he looks forward in the new land; 
winding up with an account of his life in 
London, its daily work at the Colonial Office, 
his walks, the occasional evenings at the 
opera where he worships Jenny Lind, his 
readings and practisings in his lodgings. My 
poor father! He little knew what he was 
giving up, or the real conditions of the life 
to which he was going. 

For, though the Philip of "The Bothie" 
may have "hewed and dug" to good purpose 
in New Zealand, success in colonial farming 
was a wild and fleeting dream in my father's 
case. He was born for academic life and a 
scholar's pursuits. He had no practical 
gifts, and knew nothing whatever of land 
or farming. He had only courage, youth, 
sincerity, and a charming presence which 
made him friends at sight. His mother, 
indeed, with her gentle wisdom, put no ob- 
stacles in his way. On the contrary, she re- 

20 



EARLY DAYS 

membered that her husband had felt a keen 
imaginative interest in the colonies, and had 
bought small sections of land near Welling- 
ton, which his second son now proposed to 
take up and farm. But some of the old 
friends of the family felt and expressed con- 
sternation. In particular, Baron Bunsen, 
then Prussian Ambassador to England, Ar- 
nold of Rugby's dear and faithful friend, 
wrote a letter of earnest and affectionate re- 
monstrance to the would-be colonist. Let 
me quote it, if only that it may remind me 
of days long ago, when it was still possible 
for a strong and tender friendship to exist 
between a Prussian and an Englishman! 

Bunsen points out to "young Tom" that 
he has only been eight or nine months in 
the Colonial Office, not long enough to give 
it a fair trial; that the drudgery of his clerk- 
ship will soon lead to more interesting things; 
that his superiors speak well of him; above 
all, that he has no money and no practical 
experience of farming, and that if he is 
going to New Zealand in the hope of building 
up a purer society, he will soon find him- 
self bitterly disillusioned. 

Pray, my dear young friend, do not reject 
the voice of a man of nearly sixty years, who has 
made his way through life under much greater 

difficulties perhaps than you imagine who was 

21 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

your father's dear friend who feels deeply at- 
tached to all that bears the honored and blessed 
name of Arnold who in particular had your 
father 1 s promise that he would allow me to offer 
to you, after I had seen you in 1839, some- 
thing, of that care and friendship he had bestowed 
upon Henry [Bunsen's own son} do not reject 
the warning voice of that man, if he entreats 
you solemnly not to take a precipitate step. Give 
yourself tune. Try a change of scene. Go for a 
month or two to France or Germany. I am sure 
you wish to satisfy your friends that you are 
acting wisely, considerately, in giving up what 
you have. 

Spartam quam nactus es, orna was Niebuhr's 
word to me when once, about 1825, wearied 
with diplomatic life, I resolved to throw up my 
place and go not to New Zealand, but to a 
German University. Let me say that concluding 
word to you and believe me, my dear young 
friend, 

Your sincere and affectionate friend 

BUNSEN. 

P.S. If you feel disposed to have half an 
hour's quiet conversation with me alone, pray 
come to-day at six o'clock, and then dine with 
us quietly at half-past six. I go to-morrow to 
Windsor Castle for four days. 

Nothing could have been kinder, nothing 

more truly felt and meant. But the young 

22 



EARLY DAYS 

make their own experience, and my father, 
with the smiling open look which disarmed 
opposition, and disguised all the time a cer- 
tain stubborn independence of will, char- 
acteristic of him through life, took his own 
way. He went to New Zealand, and, now 
that it was done, the interest and sympathy 
of all his family and friends followed him. 
Let me give here the touching letter which 
Arthur Stanley, his father's biographer, 
wrote to him the night before he left Eng- 
land. 

UNIV. COLL., OXFORD, Nov. 4, 1847. 
Farewell! (if you will let me once again recur 
to a relation so long since past away) farewell 
my dearest, earliest, best of pupils. I cannot 
let you go without asking you to forgive those 
many annoyances which I fear I must have un- 
consciously inflicted upon you in the last year 
of your Oxford life nor without expressing the 
interest which I feel, and shall I trust ever feel, 
beyond all that I can say, in your future course. 
You know or perhaps you hardly can know 
how when I came back to Oxford after the sum- 
mer of 1842, your presence here was to me the 
stay and charm of my life how the walks 
the lectures the Sunday evenings with you, 
filled up the void which had been left in my in- 
terests, 1 and endeared to me all the beginnings of 
my College labors. That particular feeling, as 

1 By the sudden death of Doctor Arnold. 
23 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

is natural, has passed away but it may still be 
a pleasure to you to feel in your distant home 
that whatever may be my occupations, nothing 
will more cheer -and support me through them 
than the belief that in that new world your 
dear father's name is in you still loved and 
honored, and bringing forth the fruits which he 
would have delighted to see. 

Farewell, my dear friend. May God in whom 
you trust be with you. 

Do not trouble yourself to answer this only 
take it as the true expression of one who often 
thinks how little he has done for you in compari- 
son with what he would. 

Ever yours, 

A. P. STANLEY. 

But, of course, the inevitable happened. 
After a few valiant but quite futile attempts 
to clear his land with his own hands, or with 
the random labor he could find to help him, 
the young colonist fell back on the education 
he had held so cheap in England, and brave- 
ly took school-work wherever in the rising 
townships of the infant colony he could find 
it. Meanwhile his youth, his pluck, and his 
Oxford distinctions had attracted the kindly 
notice of the Governor, Sir George Grey, 
who offered him his private secretaryship 
one can imagine the twinkle in the Govern- 
or's eye, when he first came across my 

24 



EARLY DAYS 

father building his own hut on his section 
outside Wellington! The offer was gratefully 
refused. But another year of New Zealand 
life brought reconsideration. The exile be- 
gins to speak of " loneliness" in his letters 
home, to realize that it is "collision" with 
other kindred minds that "kindles the spark 
of thought," and presently, after a striking 
account of a solitary walk across unexplored 
country in New Zealand, he confesses that he 
is not sufficient for himself, and that the 
growth and vigor of the intellect were, for him, 
at least, "not compatible with loneliness." 

A few months later, Sir William Denison, 
the newly appointed Governor of Van Die- 
men's Land, hearing that a son of Arnold 
of Rugby, an Oxford First Class man, was 
in New Zealand, wrote to offer my father 
the task of organizing primary education in 
Van Diemen's Land. 

He accepted yet not, I think, without a 
sharp sense of defeat at the hands of Mother 
Earth! set sail for Hobart, and took pos- 
session of a post that might easily have led to 
great things. His father's fame preceded 
him, and he was warmly welcomed. The 
salary was good and the field free. Within 
a few months of his landing he was engaged 
to my mother. They were married inl850, and 
I, their eldest child, was born in June, 1851. 

25 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

And then the unexpected, the amazing 
thing happened. At the time of their mar- 
riage, and for some time after, my mother, 
who had been brought up in a Protestant 
"scriptural" atmosphere, and had been orig- 
inally drawn to the younger "Tom Arnold," 
partly because he was the son of his father, 
as Stanley's Life had now made the head- 
master known to the world, was a good deal 
troubled by the heretical views of her young 
husband. She had some difficulty in getting 
him to consent to the baptism of his elder 
children. He was still in many respects 
the Philip of the "Bothie," influenced by 
Goethe, and the French romantics, by Emer- 
son, Kingsley, and Carlyle, and in touch still 
with all that Liberalism of the later 'forties 
in Oxford, of which his most intimate friend, 
Arthur Clough, and his elder brother, Mat- 
thew Arnold, were to become the foremost 
representatives. But all the while, under 
the surface, an extraordinary transformation 
was going on. He was never able to explain 
it afterward, even to me, who knew him 
best of all his children. I doubt whether he 
ever understood it himself. But he who had 
only once crossed the High Street to hear 
Newman preach, and felt no interest in the 
sermon, now, on the other side of the world, 
surrendered to Newman's influence. It is 



EARLY DAYS 

uncertain if they had ever spoken to each 
other at Oxford; yet that subtle pervasive 
intellect which captured for years the crit- 
ical and skeptical mind of Mark Pattison, 
and indirectly transformed the Church of 
England after Newman himself had left it, 
now, reaching across the world, laid hold on 
Arnold's son, when Arnold himself was no 
longer there to fight it. A general reaction 
against the negations and philosophies of his 
youth set in for " Philip," as inevitable in his 
case as the revolt against St. Sulpice was 
for Ernest Renan. For my father was in 
truth born for religion, as his whole later 
life showed. In that he was the true son of 
Arnold of Rugby. But his speculative Lib- 
eralism had carried him so much farther than 
his father's had ever gone, that the recoil 
was correspondingly great. The steps of it 
are dim. He was " struck" one Sunday with 
the "authoritative" tone of the First Epistle 
of Peter. Who and what was Peter? What 
justified such a tone? At another time he 
found a Life of St. Brigit of Sweden at a 
country inn, when he was on one of his 
school-inspecting journeys across the island. 
And he records a mysterious influence or 
" voice" from it, as he rode in meditative 
solitude through the sunny spaces of the 

Tasmanian bush, Last of all, he "obtained" 

27 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

from England, no doubt the Tracts for 
the Times. And as he went through them, 
the same documents, and the same argu- 
ments, which had taken Newman to Rome, 
nine years before, worked upon his late and 
distant disciple. But who can explain " con- 
version"? Is it not enough to say, as was 
said of old, "The Holy Ghost fell on them 
that believed"? The great "Malignant" 
had indeed triumphed. In October, 1854, 
my father was received at Hobart, Tasmania, 
into the Church of Rome; and two years 
later, after he had reached England, and 
written to Newman asking the new Father 
of the Oratory to receive him, Newman 
replied: 

How strange it seems! What a world this is! 
I knew your father a little, and I really think 
I never had any unkind feeling toward him. 
I saw him at Oriel on the Purification before 
(I think) his death (January, 1842). I was glad 
to meet him. If I said ever a harsh thing against 
him I am very sorry for it. In seeing you, I 
should have a sort of pledge that he at the 
moment of his death made it all up with me. 
Excuse this. I came here last night, and it is so 
marvelous to have your letter this morning. 

So, for the moment, ended one incident 
in the long bout between two noble fighters, 

28 



EARLY DAYS 

Arnold and Newman, each worthy of the 
other's steel. For my father, indeed, this 
act of surrender was but the beginning of a 
long and troubled history. My poor mother 
felt as though the earth had crumbled under 
her. Her passionate affection for my father 
endured tih 1 her latest hour, but she never 
reconciled herself to what he had done. 
There was in her an instinctive dread of 
Catholicism, of which I have suggested some 
of the origins ancestral and historical. It 
never abated. Many years afterward, in 
writing Helbeck of Bannisdale, I drew upon 
what I remembered of it in describing some 
traits in Laura Fountain's inbred, and finally 
indomitable, resistance to the Catholic claim 
upon the will and intellect of men. 

And to this trial in the realm of religious 
feeling there were added all the practical 
difficulties into which my father's action 
plunged her and his children. The Tas- 
manian appointment had to be given up, 
for the feeling in the colony was strongly 
anti-Catholic; and we came home, as I have 
described, to a life of struggle, privation, 
and constant anxiety, in which my mother 
suffered not only for herself, but for her 
children. 

But, after ah 1 , there were bright spots. 
My father and mother were young; my 

29 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

mother's eager, sympathetic temper brought 
her many friends; and for us children, Fox 
How and its dear inmates opened a second 
home, and new joys, which upon myself in 
particular left impressions never to be ef- 
faced or undone. Let me try and describe 
that house and garden and those who lived 
in it, as they were in 1856. 



CHAPTER II 

FOX HOW 

""THE gray-stone house stands now, as it 
*- stood then, on a "how" or rising 
ground in the beautiful Westmorland valley 
leading from Ambleside to Rydal. The 
"Doctor" built it as a holiday paradise for 
himself and his children, in the year 1833. 
It is a modest building, with ten bedrooms 
and three sitting-rooms. Its windows look 
straight into the heart of Fairfield, the beau- 
tiful semicircular mountain which rears its 
hollowed front and buttressing scaurs against 
the north, far above the green floor of the 
valley. That the house looked north never 
troubled my grandfather or his children. 
What they cared for was the perfect outline 
of the mountain wall, the "pensive glooms," 
hovering in that deep breast of Fairfield, 
the magic never-ending chase of sunlight and 
cloud across it on fine days, and the beauty 
of the soft woodland clothing its base. The 
garden was his children's joy as it became 
mine. Its little beck with its mimic bridges, 
its encircling river, its rocky knolls, its wild 
strawberries and wild raspberries, its queen 

31 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of birch-trees rearing a stately head against 
the distant mountain, its rhododendrons 
growing like weeds on its mossy banks, its 
velvet turf, and long silky grass in the parts 
left wild all these things have made the joy 
of three generations. 

Inside, Fox How was comfortably spa- 
cious, and I remember what a palace it ap- 
peared to my childish eyes, fresh from the 
tiny cabin of a 400-ton sailing-ship, and the 
rough life of a colony. My grandmother, 
its mistress, was then sixty-one. Her beau- 
tiful hair was scarcely touched with gray, 
her complexion was still delicately clear, 
and her soft brown eyes had the eager, sym- 
pathetic look of her Cornish race. Charlotte 
Bronte, who saw her a few years earlier, 
while on a visit to Miss Martineau, speaks 
of her as having been a "very pretty wom- 
an," and credits her and her daughters with 
"the possession of qualities the most esti- 
mable and endearing." In another letter, 
however, written to a less familiar corre- 
spondent, to whom Miss Bronte, as the liter- 
ary lady with a critical reputation to keep 
up, expresses herself in a different and more 
artificial tone, she again describes my grand- 
mother as good and charming, but doubts her 
claim to "power and completeness of char- 
acter." The phrase occurs in a letter de- 

32 



FOX HOW 

scribing a call at Fox How, and its slight 
pomposity makes the contrast with the 
passage in which Matthew Arnold describes 
the same visit the more amusing. 

At seven came Miss Martineau, and Miss 
Bronte (Jane Eyre); talked to Miss Martineau 
(who blasphemes frightfully) about the prospects 
of the Church of England, and, wretched man 
that I am, promised to go and see her cow- 
keeping miracles to-morrow, I who hardly know 
a cow from a sheep. I talked to Miss Bronte 
(past thirty and plain, with expressive gray 
eyes, though) of her curates, of French novels, 
and her education hi a school at Brussels, and 
sent the lions roaring to their dens at half-past 
nine. 

No one, indeed, would have applied the 
word " power" to my grandmother, unless 
he had known her very well. The general 
impression was always one of gentle sweet- 
ness and soft dignity. But the phrase, " com- 
pleteness of character," happens to sum up 
very well the impression left by her life 
both on kindred and friends. What Miss 
Bronte exactly meant by it it is difficult to 
say. But the widowed mother of nine chil- 
dren, five of them sons, and all of them pos- 
sessed of strong wills and quick intelligence, 
who was able so to guide their young lives 

33 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

that to her last hour, thirty years after her 
husband's death had left her alone with her 
task, she possessed their passionate rever- 
ence and affection, and that each and all of 
them would have acknowledged her as among 
the dearest and noblest influences in their 
lives, can hardly be denied " completeness of 
character." Many of her letters lie before 
me. Each son and daughter, as he or she 
went out into the world, received them with 
the utmost regularity. They knew that 
every incident in their lives interested their 
mother; and they in their turn were eager 
to report to her everything that came to 
them, happy or unhappy, serious or amusing. 
And this relation of the family to their 
mother only grew and strengthened with 
years. As the daughters married, their hus- 
bands became so many new and devoted sons 
to this gentle, sympathetic, and yet firm- 
natured woman. Nor were the daughters- 
in-law less attached to her, and the grand- 
children who in due time began to haunt 
Fox How. In my own life I trace her letters 
from my earliest childhood, through my life 
at school, to my engagement and marriage; 
and I have never ceased to feel a pang of 
disappointment that she died before my 
children were born. Matthew Arnold adored 
her, and wrote to her every week of his life. 

34 



FOX HOW 

So did her other children. William Forster, 
throughout his busy life in Parliament, vied 
with her sons in tender consideration and 
unfailing loyalty. And every grandchild 
thought of a visit to Fox How as not only a 
joy, but an honor. Indeed, nothing could 
have been more "complete," more rounded, 
than my grandmother's character and life 
as they developed through her eighty-three 
years. She made no conspicuous intellectual 
claim, though her quick intelligence, her wide 
sympathies, and clear judgment, combined 
with something ardent and responsive in her 
temperament, attracted and held able men; 
but her personality was none the less strong 
because it was so gently, delicately served by 
looks and manner. 

Perhaps the " completeness " of my grand- 
mother's character will be best illustrated by 
one of her family letters, a letter which may 
recall to some readers Stevenson's delightful 
poem on the mother who sits at home, 
watching the fledglings depart from the nest. 

So from the hearth the children flee, 

By that almighty hand 
Austerely led; so one by sea 

Goes forth, and one by land; 

Nor aught of all -man's sons escapes from that 
command. 



35 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

And as the fervent smith of yore 

Beat out the glowing blade, 
Nor wielded in the front of war 

The weapons that he made, 

But in the tower at home still plied his ringing 
trade; 

So like a sword the son shall roam 

On nobler missions sent; 
And as the smith remained at home 

In peaceful turret pent, 

So sits the while at home the mother well 
content. 

The letter was written to my father 'in 
New Zealand in the year 1848, as a family 
chronicle. The brothers and sisters named 
in it are Walter, the youngest of the family, 
a middy of fourteen, on board ship, and not 
very happy in the Navy, which he was 
ultimately to leave for Durham University 
and business; Willy, in the Indian Army, 
afterward the author of Oakfield, a novel at- 
tacking the abuses of Anglo-Indian life, and 
the first Director of Public Instruction in 
the Punjab commemorated by his poet 
brother in "A Southern Night"; Edward, 
at Oxford; Mary, the second daughter, who 
at the age of twenty-two had been left a 
widow after a year of married life; and 
Fan, the youngest daughter of the flock, 

36 



FOX HOW 

who now, in 1917, alone represents them in 
the gray house under the fells. The little 
Westmorland farm described is still exactly 
as it was; and has still a Richardson for 
master, though of a younger generation. 
And Rydal Chapel, freed now from the pink 
cement which clothed it in those days, and 
from the high pews familiar to the children 
of Fox How, still sends the cheerful voice of 
its bells through the valley on Sunday 
mornings. 

The reader will remember, as he reads 
it, that he is in the troubled year of 1848, with 
Chartism at home and revolution abroad. 
The " painful interest" with which the writer 
has read dough's "Bothie" refers, I think, 
to the fact that she has recognized her second 
son, my father, as to some extent the hero 
of the poem. 

Fox How, Nov. 19, 1848. 

MY DEAREST TOM, ... I am always intend- 
ing to send you something like a regular journal, 
but twenty days of the month have now passed 
away, and it is not done. Dear Matt, who was 
with us at the beginning, and who I think bore a 
part in our last letters to you, has returned to his 
post in London, and I am not without hope of 
hearing by to-morrow's post that he has run 
down to Portsmouth to see Walter before he sails 

on a cruise with the Squadron, which I believe he 

37 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

was to do to-day. But I should think they 
would hardly leave Port in such dirty weather, 
when the wind howls and the rain pours, and 
the whole atmosphere is thick and lowering as I 
suppose you rarely or never see it in New Zea- 
land. I wish the more that Matt may get 
down to Spithead, because the poor little man 
has been in a great ferment about leaving his 
Ship and going into a smaller one. By the same 
post I had a letter from him, and from Captain 
Daws, who had been astonished and grieved by 
Walter's coming to him and telling him he wished 
to leave the ship. It was evident that Captain 
D. was quite distressed about it. 

She then discusses, very shrewdly and 
quietly, the reasons for her boy's restless- 
ness, and how best to meet it. The letter 
goes on: 

Certainly there is great comfort in having him 
with so true and good a friend as Captain D. 
and I could not feel justified in acting against 
his counsel. But as he gets to know Walter 
better, I think it very likely that he will himself 
think it better for him to be in some ship not 
so likely to stay about in harbor as the St. Vin- 
cent: and will judge that with a character like 
his it might be better for him to be on some 
more distant stations. 

I write about all this as coolly as if he were not 
my own dear youngest born, the little dear son 

38 



FOX HOW 

whom I have so cherished, and who was almost 
a nursling still, when the bond which kept us all 
together was broken. But I believe I do truly 
feel that if my beloved sons are good and worthy 
of the name they bear, are hi fact true, earnest, 
Christian men, I have no wish left for them 
no selfish longings after their companionship, 
which can for a moment be put in comparison 
with such joy. Thus it almost seemed strange 
to me when, in a letter the other day from Willy 
to Edward, in reference to his E's future 
destination Willy rather urged upon him a 
home, domestic life, on my account, as my sons 
were already so scattered. As I say, those loving 
words seemed strange to me; because I have 
such an overpowering feeling that the all-in-all 
to me is that my sons should be hi just that 
vocation in life most suited to them, and most 
bringing out what is highest and best hi them; 
whether it might be hi England, or at the 
furthest extremity of the world. 



November 24, 1848. I have been unwell for 
some days, dearest Tom, and this makes me less 
active hi all my usual employments, but it shall 
not, if I can help it, prevent my making some 
progress in this letter, which in less than a week 
may perhaps be on its way to New Zealand. I 
have just sent Fan down-stairs, for she nurses 
her Mother till I begin to think some change good 
for her. She has been reading aloud to me, and 
now, as the evening advances I have asked some 

39 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of them to read to me a long poem by Clough 
(the "Bothie") which I have no doubt will reach 
you. It does not look attractive to me, for it is 
in English Hexameters, which are to me very 
cumbrous and uninviting; but probably that 
may be for some want of knowledge hi my own 
ear and taste. The poem is addressed to his 
pupils of last summer, and in scenery, etc., will 
have, I suppose, many touches from his Highland 
residence; but, in a brief Preface, he says that 
the tale itself is altogether fiction. 

To turn from things domestic to things at 
large, what a state of things is this at Berlin! a 
state of siege declared, and the King at open 
issue with his representatives! from the country 
districts, people flocking to give him aid, while the 
great towns are almost hi revolt. "Always too 
late" might, I suppose, have been his motto; 
and when things have been given with one hand, 
he has seemed too ready to withdraw them with 
the other. But, after all, I must and do believe 
that he has noble qualities, so to have won 
Bunsen's love and respect. 

November 25. Mary is preparing a long letter, 
and it will therefore matter the less if mine is not 
so long as I intended. I have not yet quite 
made up the way I have lost hi my late indisposi- 
tion, and we have such volumes of letters from 
dear Willy to answer, that I believe this folio 

will be all I can send to you, my own darling; 

40 



FOX HOW 

but you do not dwell in my heart or my thoughts 
less fondly. I long inexpressibly to have some 
definite ideas of what you are now after some 
eight months of residence doing, thinking, feel- 
ing; what are your occupations in the present, 
what your aims and designs for the future. The 
assurance that it is your first and heartful desire 
to please God, my dear son; that you have strug- 
gled to do this and not allowed yourself to shrink 
from whatever you felt to be involved in it, this 
is, and will be my deepest and dearest comfort, 
and I pray to Him to guide you into all truth. 
But though supported by this assurance, I do 
not pretend to say that often and often I do 
not yearn over you hi my thoughts, and long to 
bestow upon you hi act and word, as well as in 
thought, some of that overflowing love which is 
cherished for you in your home. 

And here follows a tender mother-word in 
reference to an early and unrequited at- 
tachment of my father's, the fate of which 
may possibly have contributed to the rest- 
lessness which sent him beyond the seas. 

But, dear Tom, I believe that though the 
hoped for flower and fruit have faded, yet that 
the plant has been strengthened and purified. 
... It would be a grief to me not to believe that 
you will yet be most happy in married life; 
and when you can make to yourself a home I 
shall perhaps lose some of my restless longing to 

41 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

be near you and ministering to your comfort, 
and sharing in your life if I can think of you as 
cheered and helped by one who loved you as I 
did your own beloved father. 

Sunday, November 26. Just a year, my son, 
since you left England! But I really must not 
allow myself to dwell on this, and all the thoughts 
it brings with it; for I found last night that the 
contrast between the fulness of thought and feel- 
ing, and my own powerlessness to express it 
weighed on me heavily; and not having yet 
quite recovered my usual tone, I could not well 
bear it. So I will just try to collect for you a 
few more home Memoranda, and then have 
done. . . . Our new tenant, James Richardson, 
is now fairly established at his farm, and when I 
went up there and saw the cradle and the happy 
childish faces around the table, and the rows of 
oatmeal cake hanging up, and the cheerful, active 
Mother going hither and thither now to her 
Dairy now guiding the steps of the little one 
that followed her about and all the time pre- 
paring things for her husband's return from his 
work at night, I could not but feel that it was a 
very happy picture of English life. Alas! that 
there are not larger districts where it exists! 
But I hope there is still much of it; and I feel 
that while there is an awful undercurrent of 
misery and ski the latter both caused by the 
first and causing it and while, on the surface, 
there is carelessness, and often recklessness and 
hardness and trifling, yet that still, in our English 

42 



FOX HOW 

society, there is, between these two extremes, a 
strength of good mixed with baser elements, 
which must and will, I fully believe, support us 
nationally in the troublous tunes which are at 
hand on which we are actually entered. 

But again I am wandering, and now the others 
have gone off to the Rydal Chapel without me 
this lovely Sunday morning. There are the bells 
sounding invitingly across the valley, and the 
evergreens are white and sparkling in the sun. 

I have a note from Clough. . . . His poem is 
as remarkable, I think, as you would expect, 
coming from him. Its power quite overcame 
my dislike to the measure so far at least as 
to make me read it with great interest often, 
though, a painful one. And now I must end. 

As to Miss Bronte's impressions of Mat- 
thew Arnold in that same afternoon call of 
1850, they were by no means flattering. She 
understands that he was already the author 
of "a volume of poems" (The Poems by 
A, 1849), remarks that his manner " dis- 
pleases from its seeming foppery," but 
recognizes, nevertheless, in conversation with 
him, "some genuine intellectual aspirations"! 
It was but a few years later that my uncle 
paid his poet's homage to the genius of the 
two sisters to Charlotte of the "expres- 
sive gray eyes" to Emily of the "chainless 

soul." I often try to picture their meeting 

43 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

in the Fox How drawing-room: Matthew 
Arnold, tall, handsome, in the rich opening 
of his life, his first poetic honors thick upon 
him, looking with a half -critical, half -humor- 
ous eye at the famous little lady whom Miss 
Martineau had brought to call upon his 
mother; and beside him that small, intrepid 
figure, on which the worst storms of life had 
already beaten, which was but five short 
years from its own last rest. I doubt whether, 
face to face, they would ever have made 
much of each other. But the sister who 
could write of a sister's death as Charlotte 
wrote, in the letter that every lover of great 
prose ought to have by heart 

Emily suffers no more from pain or weakness 
now, she never will suffer more in this world. 
She is gone, after a hard, short conflict. . . . 
We are very calm at present, why should we be 
otherwise? The anguish of seeing her suffer is 
over; the spectacle of the pains of death is gone; 
the funeral day is past. We feel she is at peace. 
No need now to tremble for the hard frost and 
the keen wind. Emily does not feel them. 

must have stretched out spiritual hands to 
Matthew Arnold, had she lived to read "A 
Southern Night" that loveliest, surely, of 
all laments of brother for brother. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

p\OCTOR ARNOLD'S eldest daughter, 
*** Jane Arnold, afterward Mrs. W. E. 
Forster, my godmother, stands out for me 
on the tapestry of the past, as one of the 
noblest personalities I have ever known. 
She was twenty-one when her father died, and 
she had been his chief companion among his 
children for years before death took him 
from her. He taught her Latin and Greek, 
he imbued her with his own political and 
historical interests, and her ardent Christian 
faith answered to his own. After his death 
she was her mother's right hand at Fox How; 
and her letters to her brothers to my father, 
especially, since he was longest and farthest 
away show her quick and cultivated mind, 
and all the sweetness of her nature. We hear 
of her teaching a younger brother Latin and 
Greek; she goes over to Miss Martineau on 
the other side of the valley to translate some 
German for that busy woman; she reads 
Dante beside her mother, when the rest of 
the family have gone to bed ; she sympathizes 
passionately with Mazzini and Garibaldi; 

45 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and every week she walks over Loughrigg 
through fair weather and foul, summer and 
winter, to teach in a night school at Skelwith. 
Then the young Quaker manufacturer, Will- 
iam Forster, appears on the scene, and she 
falls happily and completely in love. Her 
letters to the brother in New Zealand be- 
come, in a moment, all joy and ardor, and 
nothing could be prettier than the account, 
given by one of the sisters, of the quiet wed- 
ding in Rydal Chapel, the family breakfast, 
the bride's simple dress and radiant look, 
Matthew Arnold giving his sister away 
with the great fells standing sentinel. And 
there exists a delightful unpublished letter by 
Harriet Martineau which gives some idea of 
the excitement roused in the quiet Ambleside 
valley by Jane Arnold's engagement to the 
tall Yorkshireman who came from surround- 
ings so different from the academic and 
scholarly world in which the Arnolds had 
been brought up. 

Then followed married life at Rawdon near 
Bradford, with supreme happiness at home, 
and many and growing interests in the manu- 
facturing, religious, and social life around the 
young wife. In 1861 William Forster be- 
came member for Bradford, and in 1869 
Gladstone included him in that Ministry of 
all the talents, which foundered under the 

46 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

onslaughts of Disraeli in 1874. Forster be- 
came Vice-President of the Council, which 
meant Minister for Education, with a few 
other trifles like the cattle-plague thrown in. 
The Education Bill, which William Forster 
brought in in 1870 (as a girl of eighteen, I 
was in the Ladies' Gallery of the House of 
Commons on the great day to hear his 
speech), has been the foundation-stone ever 
since of English popular education. It has 
always been clear to me that the scheme of 
the bill was largely influenced by William 
Forster's wife, and, through her, by the con- 
victions and beliefs of her father. The com- 
promise by which the Church schools, with 
the creeds and the Church catechism, were 
preserved, under a conscience clause, while 
the dissenters got their way as to the banish- 
ment of creeds and catechisms, and the sub- 
stitution for them of "simple Bible-teach- 
ing," in the schools founded under the new 
School Boards, which the bill set up all over 
England, has practically with, of course, 
modifications held its ground for nearly 
half a century. It was illogical; and the dis- 
senters have never ceased to resent the per- 
petuation of the Church school which it 
achieved. But English life is illogical. It 
met the real situation; and it would never 
have taken the shape it did in my opinion 

47 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

but for the ardent beliefs of the young and 
remarkable woman, at once a strong Liberal 
and a devoted daughter of the English 
Church, as Arnold, Kingsley, and Maurice 
understood it, who had married her Quaker 
husband in 1850 X and had thereby been the 
innocent cause of his automatic severance 
from the Quaker body. His respect for her 
judgment and intellectual power was only 
equaled by his devotion to her. And when 
the last great test of his own life came, how 
she stood by him! through those terrible 
days of the Land League struggle, when, as 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, Forster carried 
his life in his hand month after month, to be 
worn out finally by the double toil of Parlia- 
ment and Ireland, and to die just before 
Mr. Gladstone split the Liberal party in 
1886, by the introduction of the Home Rule 
Bill, in which Forster would not have fol- 
lowed him. 

I shall, however, have something to say 
later on in these Reminiscences about those 
tragic days. To those who watched Mrs. 
Forster through them, and who knew her 
intimately, she was one of the most interest- 
ing figures of that crowded time. Few people, 
however, outside the circle of her kindred, 
knew her intimately. She was, of course, 
in the ordinary social and political world, 

48 



both before and after her husband's entrance 
upon office, and admission to the Cabinet; 
dining out and receiving at home; attending 
Drawing-rooms and public functions; stay- 
ing at country houses, and invited to Wind- 
sor, like other Ministers' wives, and keenly 
interested in all the varying fortunes of 
Forster's party. But though she was in 
that world, she was never truly of it. She 
moved through it, yet veiled from it, by 
that pure, unconscious selflessness which is 
the saint's gift. Those who ask nothing for 
themselves, whose whole strength is spent on 
affections that are their life, and on ideals 
at one with their affections, are not easily 
popular, like the self-seeking, parti-colored 
folk who make up the rest of us; who flatter, 
caress, and court, that we in our turn may 
be flattered and courted. Their gentleness 
masks the indomitable soul within; and so 
their fellows are often unaware of their true 
spiritual rank. 

It is interesting to recall the instinctive 
sympathy with which a nature so different 
from Charlotte Bronte's as that of Arnold's 
eldest daughter, met the challenge of the 
Bronte genius. It would not have been 
wonderful in those days if the quiet Fox 
How household, with its strong religious at- 
mosphere, its daily psalms and lessons, its 

49 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

love for The Christian Year, its belief in 
" discipline" (how that comes out in all the 
letters!) had been repelled by the blunt 
strength of Jane Eyre; just as it would not 
have been wonderful if they had held aloof 
from Miss Martineau, in the days when it 
pleased that remarkable woman to preach 
mesmeric atheism, or atheistic mesmerism, 
as we choose to put it. But there was a life- 
long friendship between them and Harriet 
Martineau; and they recognized at once the 
sincerity and truth the literary rank, in 
fact of Jane Eyre. Not long after her mar- 
riage, Jane Forster with her husband went 
over to Haworth to see Charlotte Bronte. 
My aunt's letter, describing the visit to the 
dismal parsonage and church, is given with- 
out her name in Mrs. GaskelPs Life, and 
Mr. Shorter, in reprinting it in the second of 
his large volumes, does not seem to be aware 
of the identity of the writer. 

Miss Bronte put me so in mind of her own 
Jane Eyre [wrote my godmother]. She looked 
smaller than ever, and moved about so quietly 
and noiselessly, just like a little bird, as Rochester 
called her; except that all birds are joyous, and 
that joy can never have entered that house since 
it was built. And yet, perhaps, when that old 
man (Mr. Bronte) married and took home his 
bride, and children's voices and feet were heard 

50 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

about the house, even that desolate graveyard 
and biting blast could not quench cheerfulness 
and hope. Now (i. e. since the deaths of Emily 
and Anne) there is something touching in the 
sight of that little creature entombed in such a 
place, and moving about herself there like a 
spirit; especially when you think that the slight 
still frame incloses a force of strong, fiery life, 
which nothing has been able to freeze or 
extinguish. 

This letter was written before my birth 
and about six years before the writer of it ap- 
peared, as an angel of help, in the dingy dock- 
side inn, where we tired travelers had taken 
shelter on our arrival from the other side of 
the world, and where I was first kissed by my 
godmother. As I grew up into girlhood, 
"Aunt K." (K. was the pet name by which 
Matthew Arnold always wrote to her) be- 
came for me part of the magic of Fox How, 
though I saw her, of course, often in her own 
home also. I felt toward her a passionate 
and troubled affection. She was to me "a 
thing enskied" and heavenly for all her 
quick human interests, and her sweet ways 
with those she loved. How could any one 
be so good! was often the despairing reflec- 
tion of the child who adored her, caught her- 
self in the toils of a hot temper and a stub- 
born will; but all the same, to see her enter 

i. 5 51 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

a room was joy, and to sit by her the highest 
privilege. I don't know whether she could 
be strictly called beautiful. But to me every- 
thing about her was beautiful her broad 
brow, her clear brown eyes and wavy brown 
hair, the touch of stately grace with which 
she moved, the mouth so responsive and 
soft, yet, at need, so determined, the hand 
so delicate, yet so characteristic. 

She was the eldest of nine. Of her rela- 
tion to the next of them her brother Mat- 
thew there are many indications in the col- 
lection of my uncle's letters, edited by Mr. 
George Russell. It was to her that "Resig- 
nation " was addressed, in recollection of their 
mountain walks and talks together; and in 
a letter to her, the Sonnet " To Shakespeare," 
" Others abide our question thou art free," 
was first written out. Their affection for 
each other, in spite of profound differences of 
opinion, only quickened and deepened with 
time. 

Between my father and his elder brother 
Matthew Arnold there was barely a year's 
difference of age. The elder was born in 
December, 1822, and the younger in Novem- 
ber, 1823. They were always warmly at- 
tached to each other, and in spite of much 
that was outwardly divergent sharply di- 

52 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

vergent they were more alike fundamen- 
tally than was often suspected. Both had 
derived from some remoter ancestry pos- 
sibly through their Cornish mother, herself 
the daughter of a Penrose and a Trevenen 
elements and qualities which were lacking 
in the strong personality of their father. 
Imagination, " rebellion against fact," spirit- 
uality, a tendency to dream, unworldliness, 
the passionate love of beauty and charm, 
" ineffectualness " in the practical competi- 
tive life these, according to Matthew Ar- 
nold, when he came to lecture at Oxford on 
"The Study of Celtic Literature," were and 
are the characteristic marks of the Celt. 
They were unequally distributed between the 
two brothers. "Unworldliness," "rebellion 
against fact," " ineffectualness " in common 
life, fell rather to my father's share than my 
uncle's; though my uncle's " worldliness," of 
which he was sometimes accused, if it ever 
existed, was never more than skin-deep. 
Imagination in my father led to a lifelong 
and mystical preoccupation with religion; it 
made Matthew Arnold one of the great poets 
of the nineteenth century. 

There is a sketch of my father made in 
1847, which preserves the dreamy, sensitive 
look of early youth, when he was the center 
of a band of remarkable friends Clough, 

53 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Stanley, F. T. Palgrave, Alfred Domett 
(Browning's Waring), and others. It is the 
face nobly and delicately cut of one to 
whom the successes of the practical, com- 
petitive life could never be of the same im- 
portance as those events which take place in 
thought, and for certain minds are the only 
real events. "For ages and ages the world 
has been constantly slipping ever more and 
more out of the Celt's grasp," wrote Matthew 
Arnold. But all the while the Celt has great 
compensations. To him belongs another 
world than the visible; the world of phantas- 
magoria, of emotion, the world of passionate 
beginnings, rather than of things achieved. 
After the romantic and defiant days of his 
youth, my father, still pursuing the same 
natural tendency, found all that he needed 
in Catholicism, and specially, I think, in that 
endless poetry and mystery of the Mass which 
keeps Catholicism alive. 

Matthew Arnold was very different in out- 
ward aspect. The face, strong and rugged, 
the large mouth, the broad lined brow, and 
vigorous coal-black hair, bore no resem- 
blance, except for that fugitive yet vigorous 
something which we call " family likeness," to 
either his father or mother still less to the 
brother so near to him in age. But the 
Celtic trace is there, though derived, I have 

54 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

sometimes thought, rather from an Irish than 
a Cornish source. Doctor Arnold's mother, 
Martha Delafield, according to a genealogy 
I see no reason to doubt, was partly of Irish 
blood; one finds, at any rate, Fitzgeralds and 
Dillons among the names of her forebears. 
And I have seen in Ireland faces belonging to 
the " black Celt" type faces full of power 
and humor, and softness, visibly molded out 
of the good common earth by the nimble 
spirit within, which have reminded me of 
my uncle. Nothing, indeed, at first sight 
could have been less romantic or dreamy than 
his outer aspect. "Ineffectualness" was not 
to be thought of in connection with him. 
He stood four-square a courteous, com- 
petent man of affairs, an admirable inspector 
of schools, a delightful companion, a guest 
whom everybody wanted and no one could 
bind for long; one of the sanest, most in- 
dependent, most cheerful and lovable of 
mortals. Yet his poems show what was the 
real inner life and genius of the man; how 
rich in that very " emotion," "love of beauty 
and charm," "rebellion against fact," "spir- 
ituality," "melancholy" which he himself 
catalogued as the cradle gifts of the Celt. 
Crossed, indeed, always, with the Rugby 
"earnestness," with that in him which came 
to him from his father. 

55 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

It is curious to watch the growing percep- 
tion of "Matt's" powers among the circle of 
his nearest kin, as it is reflected in these 
family letters to the emigrant brother, which 
reached him across the seas from 1847 to 
1856, and now lie under my hand. The 
Poems by A. came out, as all lovers of Eng- 
lish poetry know, in 1849. My grandmother 
writes to my father in March of that year, 
after protesting that she has not much news 
to give him: 

But the little volume of Poems! that is indeed 
a subject of new and very great interest. By 
degrees we hear more of public opinion concern- 
ing them, and I am very much mistaken if their 
power both in thought and execution is not more 
and more felt and acknowledged. I had a letter 
from dear Miss Fenwick to-day, whose first im- 
pressions were that they were by you, for it 
seems she had heard of the volume as much 
admired, and as by one of the family, and she had 
hardly thought it could be by one so moving 
in the busy haunts of men as dear Matt. . . . 
Matt himself says: "I have learned a good deal 
as to what is practicable from the objections of 
people, even when I thought them not reason- 
able, and hi some degree they may determine my 
course as to publishing; e.g., I had thoughts of 
publishing another volume of short poems next 
spring, and a tragedy I have long had in my 
head, the spring after: at present I shall leave 

66 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

the short poems to take their chance, only writing 
them when I cannot help it, and try to get on with 
my Tragedy ('Merope'), which however will 
not be a very quick affair. But as that must 
be in a regular and usual form, it may per- 
haps, if it succeeds, enable me to use meters 
in short poems which seem proper to myself; 
whether they suit the habits of readers at first 
sight or not. But all this is rather vague at 
present. ... I think I am getting quite indif- 
ferent about the book. I have given away the 
only copy I had, and now never look at them. 
The most enthusiastic people about them are 
young men of course; but I have heard of one 
or two people who found pleasure in 'Resigna- 
tion,' and poems of that stamp, which is what 
I like." 

"The most enthusiastic people about them 
are young men, of course." The sentence 
might stand as the motto of all poetic be- 
ginnings. The young poet writes first of all 
for the young of his own day. They make 
his bodyguard. They open to him the gates 
of the House of Fame. But if the divine 
power is really his, it soon frees itself from the 
shackles of Time and Circumstance. The 
true poet becomes, in the language of the 
Greek epigram on Homer, "the ageless 
mouth of all the world." And if "The 
Strayed Reveller," and the Sonnet "To 
Shakespeare," and "Resignation," delighted 

57 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

those who were young in 1849, that same 
generation, as the years passed over it, in- 
stead of outgrowing their poet, took him all 
the more closely to their hearts. Only so 
can we explain the steady spread and deep- 
ening of his poetic reputation which befell 
my uncle up to the very end of his life, and 
had assured him by then leaving out of 
count the later development of his influence 
both in the field of poetry and elsewhere 
his place in the history of English literature. 
But his entry as a poet was gradual, and 
but little heralded, compared to the debuts 
of our own time. Here is an interesting ap- 
preciation from his sister Mary, about whom 
I shall have more to say presently. At the 
time this letter was written, in 1849, she was 
twenty-three, and already a widow, after a 
tragic year of married life during which her 
young husband had developed paralysis of the 
brain. She was living in London, attending 
Bedford College, and F. D. Maurice's ser- 
mons, much influenced, like her brothers, by 
Emerson and Carlyle, and at this moment a 
fine, restless, immature creature, much younger 
than her years in some respects, and much 
older in others with worlds hitherto unsus- 
pected in the quiet home life. She writes : 

I have been in London for several months this 
year, and I have seen a good deal of Matt, con- 

5? 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

sidering the very different lives we lead. I used 
to breakfast with him sometimes, and then his 
Poems seemed to make me know Matt so much 
better than I had ever done before. Indeed it 
was almost like a new Introduction to him. I 
do not think those Poems could be read quite 
independently of their poetical power without 
leading one to expect a great deal from Matt; 
without raising I mean the kind of expectation 
one has from and for those who have, hi some 
way or other, come face to face with life and 
asked it, hi real earnest, what it means. I felt 
there was so much more of this practical ques- 
tioning in Matt's book than I was at all prepared 
for; in fact that it showed a knowledge of life 
and conflict which was strangely like experience 
if it was not the thing itself; and this with all 
Matt's great power I should not have looked 
for. I do not yet know the book well, but 
I think that "Mycerinus" struck me most, per- 
haps, as illustrating what I have been speak- 
ing of. 

And again, to another member of the family: 

It is the moral strength, or, at any rate, the 
moral consciousness which struck and surprised 
me so much in the poems. I could have been 
prepared for any degree of poetical power, for 
there being a great deal more than I could at all 
appreciate; but there is something altogether 
different from this, something which such a man 
as Clough has, for instance, which I did not expect 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

to find in Matt; but it is there. Of course when 
I speak of his Poems I only speak of the impres- 
sion received from those I understand. Some 
are perfect riddles to me, such as that to the 
Child at Douglas, which is surely more poetical 
than true. 

Strangely like experience! The words are 
an interesting proof of the difficulty we all 
have in seeing with accuracy the persons and 
things which are nearest to us. The as- 
tonishment of the sisters for the same feel- 
ing is expressed by Mrs. Forster was very 
natural. In these early days, "Matt" often 
figures in the family letters as the worldling 
of the group the dear one who is making 
way in surroundings quite unknown to the 
Fox How circle, where, under the shadow of 
the mountains, the sisters, idealists all of 
them, looking out a little austerely, for all 
their tenderness, on the human scene, are 
watching with a certain anxiety lest Matt 
should be "spoiled." As Lord Lansdowne's 
private secretary, very much liked by his 
chief, he goes among rich and important 
people, and finds himself, as a rule, much 
cleverer than they; above all, able to amuse 
them, so often the surest road to social and 
other success. Already at Oxford "Matt" 
had been something of an exquisite or, as 
Miss Bronte puts it, a trifle "foppish"; and 

60 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

(in the manuscript) Fox How Magazine, to 
which all the nine contributed, and in which 
Matthew Arnold's boyish poems may still 
be read, there are many family jests leveled 
at Matt's high standard in dress and de- 
portment. 

But how soon the nascent dread lest their 
poet should be somehow separated from them 
by the " great world" passes away from 
mother and sisters forever! With every 
year of his life Matthew Arnold, besides 
making the sunshine of his own married 
home, became a more attached, a more de- 
voted son and brother. The two volumes 
of his published letters are there to show it. 
I will only quote here a sentence from a letter 
of Mrs. Arnold's, written in 1850, a year 
after the publication of the Poems by A. 
She and her eldest daughter, then shortly 
to become William Forster's wife, were at 
the time in London. " K " had been seriously 
ill, and the marriage had been postponed for 
a short time. 

Matt [says Mrs. Arnold] has been with us 
almost every day since we came up now so long 
ago! and it is pleasant indeed to see his dear 
face, and to find him always so affectionate, and 
so unspoiled by his being so much sought after 
in a kind of society entirely different from any- 
thing we can enter into. 

61 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

But, indeed, the time saved, day after day, 
for an invalid sister, by a run-after young 
man of twenty-seven, who might so easily 
have made one or other of the trifling or 
selfish excuses we are all so ready to make, 
was only a prophecy of those many " name- 
less unremembered acts" of simple kindness 
which filled the background of Matthew 
Arnold's middle and later life, and were not 
revealed, many of them, even to his own 
people, till after his death kindness to a 
pupil-teacher, an unsuccessful writer, a hard- 
worked schoolmaster or schoolmistress, a 
budding poet, a school-boy. It was not pos- 
sible to "spoil" Matthew Arnold. Mere- 
dith's "Comic Spirit" in him, his irrepressi- 
ble humor, would alone have saved him from 
it. And as to his relation to "society," and 
the great ones in it, no one more frankly 
amused himself within certain very definite 
limits with the "cakes and ale" of life, and 
no one held more lightly to them. He never 
denied none but the foolish ever do deny 
the immense personal opportunities and ad- 
vantages of an aristocratic class, wherever it 
exists. He was quite conscious none but 
those without imagination can fail to be 
conscious of the glamour of long descent 
and great affairs. But he laughed at the 
"Barbarians," the materialized or stupid 

62 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

holders of power and place, and their "forti- 
fied posts "-i. e., the country houses just 
as he laughed at the Philistines and Mr. 
Bottles; when he preached a sermon in 
later life, it was on Menander's motto, 
"Choose Equality"; and he and Clough 
the Republican were not really far apart. 
He mocked even at Clough, indeed, ad- 
dressing his letters to him, "Citizen 
Clough, Oriel Lyceum, Oxford"; but in 
the midst of the revolutionary hubbub 
of 1848 he pours himself out to Clough 
only he and "Thyrsis," to use his own 
expression in a letter, "agreeing like two 
lambs in a world of wolves," and in his 
early sonnet (1848) "To a Republican 
Friend" (who was certainly Clough) he 
says: 

If sadness at the long heart-wasting show 

Wherein earth's great ones are disquieted; 
If thoughts, not idle, while before me flow 

The armies of the homeless and unfed 
If these are yours, if this is what you are, 
Then I am yours, and what you feel, I share. 

Yet, as he adds, in the succeeding sonnet, he 
has no belief in sudden radical change, nor in 
any earthly millennium 

63 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Seeing this vale, this earth, whereon we dream, 
Is on all sides o'ershadowed by the high 
Uno'erleaped mountains of necessity, 

Sparing us narrower margin than we dream. 

On the eagerness with which Matthew 
Arnold followed the revolutionary spectacle 
of 1848, an unpublished letter written pi- 
quantly enough! from Lansdowne House 
itself, on February 28th, in that famous year, 
to my father in New Zealand, throws a vivid 
light. One feels the artist in the writer. 
First, the quiet of the great house and court- 
yard, the flower-pricked grass, the "still- 
faced babies"; then the sudden clash of the 
street-cries! "Your uncle's description of 
this house," writes the present Lord Lans- 
downe, in 1910, " might almost have been 
written yesterday, instead of in 1848. Little 
is changed, Romulus and Remus and the 
she-wolf are still on the top of the book- 
case, and the clock is still hard by; but 
the picture of the Jewish Exiles . . . has 
been given to a local School of Art in 
Wiltshire! The green lawn remains, but I 
am afraid the crocuses, which I can remem- 
ber as a child, no longer come up through 
the turf. And lastly one of the 'still-faced 
babies' [i. e., Lord Lansdowne himself] is 
still often to be seen in the gravel court! 

64 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

He was three years old when the letter was 
written." 
Here, then, is the letter: 

LANSDOWNE HOUSE, Feb. 8, 1848. 

MY DEAREST TOM, . . . Here I sit, opposite 
a marble group of Romulus and Remus and the 
wolf; the two children fighting like mad, and 
the limp-uddered she-wolf affectionately snarling 
at the little demons struggling on her back. 
Above it is a great picture, Rembrandt's Jewish 
Exiles, which would do for Consuelo and Albert 
resting in one of then 1 wanderings, worn out 
upon a wild stony heath sloping to the Baltic 
she leaning over her two children who sleep hi 
their torn rags at her feet. Behind me a most 
musical clock, marking now 24 Minutes past 
1 P.M. On my left two great windows looking 
out on the court in front of the house, through 
one of which, slightly opened, comes hi gushes 
the soft damp breath, with a tone of spring-life 
in it, which the close of an English February 
sometimes brings so different from a November 
mildness. The green lawn which occupies nearly 
half the court is studded over with crocuses of 
all colors growing out of the grass, for there 
are no flower-beds; delightful for the large still- 
faced white-robed babies whom then" nurses carry 
up and down on the gravel court where it skirts 
the green. And from the square and the neigh- 
boring streets, through the open door whereat 
the civil porter moves to and fro, come the 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

sounds of vehicles and men, in all gradations, 
some from near and some from far, but mellowed 
by the tune they reach this backstanding lordly 
mansion. 

But above all cries comes one whereat every 
stone in this and other lordly mansions may 
totter and quake for fear: 

"Se . . . c . . . ond Edition of the Morning 
Herald L ... a ... test news from Paris: 
arrival of the King of the French." 

I have gone out and bought the said portentous 
Herald, and send it herewith, that you may read 
and know. As the human race forever stumbles 
up its great steps, so it is now. You remember 
the Reform Banquets [hi Paris] last summer? 
well! the diners omitted the king's health, 
and abused Guizot's majority as corrupt and 
servile: the majority and the king grew excited; 
the Government forbade the Banquets to con- 
tinue. The king met the Chamber with the 
words "passions aveugles" to characterize the 
dispositions of the Banqueters: and Guizot 
grandly declared against the spirit of Revolution 
all over the world. His practice suited his words, 
or seemed to suit them, for both in Switzerland 
and Italy, the French Government incurred the 
charge of siding against the Liberals. Add to 
this the corruption cases you remember, the 
Praslin murder, and later events, which power- 
fully stimulated the disgust (moral indignation 

66 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

that People does not feel!) entertained by the 
lower against the governing class. 

Then Thiers, seeing the breeze rising, and 
hoping to use it, made most telling speeches hi 
the debate on the Address, clearly defining the 
crisis as a question between revolution and 
counter-revolution, and declaring enthusiastic- 
ally for the former. Lamartine and others, the 
sentimental and the plain honest, were very 
damaging on the same side. The Government 
were harsh abrupt almost scornful. They 
would not yield would not permit banquets: 
would give no Reform till they chose. Guizot 
spoke (alone in the Chamber, I think) to this 
effect. With decreasing Majorities the Govern- 
ment carried the different clauses of the address, 
amidst furious scenes; opposition members cry- 
ing that they were worse than Polignac. It was 
resolved to hold an Opposition banquet in Paris 
in spite of the Government, last Tuesday, the 
22d. In the week between the close of the 
debate and this day there was a profound, un- 
easy excitement, but nothing I think to appall 
the rulers. They had the fortifications; all 
kinds of stores; and 100,000 troops of the line. 
To be quite secure, however, they determined to 
take a formal legal objection to the banquet 
at the doors; but not to prevent the procession 
thereto. On that the Opposition published a 
proclamation inviting the National Guard, who 
sympathized, to form part of the procession hi 
uniform. Then the Government forbade the 

meeting altogether absolutely and the Oppo- 
6 67 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

sition resigned themselves to try the case in a 
Court of Law. 

So did not the people! 

They gathered all over Paris: the National 
Guard, whom Ministers did not trust, were not 
called out: the Line checked and dispersed the 
mob on all points. But next day the mob were 
there again: the Ministers in a constitutional 
fright called out the National Guard: a body 
of these hard by the Ope"ra refused to clear the 
street, they joined the people. Troops were 
brought up: the Mob and the National Guard 
refused to give them passage down the Rue le 
Pelletier, which they occupied: after a moment's 
hesitation, they were marched on along the 
Boulevard. 

This settled the matter! Everywhere the 
National Guard fraternized with the people : the 
troops stood indifferent. The King dismissed 
the Ministers: he sent for Mole"; a shade better: 
not enough: he sent for Thiers a pause; this 
was several shades better still not enough: 
meanwhile the crowd continued, and attacks on 
different posts, with slight bloodshed, increased 
the excitement: finally the King abdicated hi 
favor of the Count of Paris, and fled. The Count 
of Paris was taken by his mother to the Chamber 
the people broke in; too late not enough: 
a republic an appeal to the people. The 
royal family escaped to all parts, Belgium, Eu, 
England: a Provisional Government named. 

You will see how they stand: they have 
adopted the last measures of Revolution. News 

68 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

has just come that the National Guard have 
declared against a Republic, and that a collision 
is inevitable. 

If possible I will write by the next mail, and 
send you a later paper than the Herald by this 
mail. 

Your truly affectionate, dearest Tom, 

M. ARNOLD. 

To this let me add here two or three other 
letters or fragments, all unpublished, which 
I find among the papers from which I have 
been drawing, ending, for the present, with 
the jubilant letter describing his election to 
the Poetry Professorship at Oxford, in 1857. 
Here, first of all, is an amusing reference, 
dated 1849, to Keble, then the idol of every 
well-disposed Anglican household: 

I dined last night with a Mr. Grove, 1 a cele- 
brated man of science: his wife is pretty and 
agreeable, but not on a first interview. The 
husband and I agree wonderfully on some points. 
He is a bad sleeper, and hardly ever free from 
headache; he equally dislikes and disapproves 
of modern existence and the state of excitement 
in which everybody lives: and he sighs after a 
paternal despotism and the calm existence of a 
Russian or Asiatic. He showed me a picture 
of Faraday, which is wonderfully fine: I am 
almost inclined to get it: it has a curious likeness 

1 Afterward Sir William Grove, F.R.S., author of the famous 
essay on "The Correlation of Physical Force." 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

to Keble, only with a calm, earnest look unlike 
the latter 's Flibbertigibbet, fanatical, twinkling 
expression. 

Did ever anybody apply such adjectives to 
John Keble before! Yet if any one will look 
carefully at the engraving of Keble so often 
seen in quiet parsonages, they will under- 
stand, I think, exactly what Matthew 
Arnold meant. 

In 1850 great changes came upon the 
Arnold family. The " Doctor's" elder three 
children Jane, Matthew, and my father- 
married in that year, and a host of new in- 
terests sprang up for every member of the 
Fox How circle. I find in a letter to my 
father from Arthur Stanley, his father's 
biographer, and his own Oxford tutor, the 
following reference to "Matt's" marriage, 
and to the second series of Poems contain- 
ing "Sohrab and Rustum" which were pub- 
lished in 1854. "You will have heard," 
writes Stanley, "of the great success of 
Matt's poems. He is in good heart about 
them. He is also I must say so, though 
perhaps I have no right to say so greatly 
improved by his marriage retaining all the 
genius and nobleness of mind which you re- 
member, with all the lesser faults pruned and 
softened down." Matt himself wrote to 

70 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

give news of his wedding, to describe the 
bride Judge Wightman's daughter, the dear 
and gracious little lady whom we grand- 
children knew and loved as "Aunt Fanny 
Lucy" and to wish my father joy of his 
own. And then there is nothing among the 
waifs and strays that have come to me worth 
printing, till 1855, when my uncle writes to 
New Zealand: 

I hope you have got my book by this time. 
What you will like best, I think, will be the 
"Scholar Gipsy." I am sure that old Cumner 
and Oxford country will stir a chord in you. 
For the preface I doubt if you will care, not hav- 
ing much before your eyes the sins and offenses 
at which it is directed: the first being that we 
have numbers of young gentlemen with really 
wonderful powers of perception and expression, 
but to whom there is wholly wanting a "bedeu- 
tendes Individuum" so that their productions 
are most unedifying and unsatisfactory. But 
this is a long story. 

As to Church matters. I think people in 
general concern themselves less with them than 
they did when you left England. Certainly re- 
ligion is not, to all appearance at least, losing 
ground here: but since the great people of New- 
man's party went over, the disputes among the 
comparatively unimportant remains of them do 
not excite much interest. I am going to hear 

Manning at the Spanish Chapel next Sunday. 

71 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Newman gives himself up almost entirely to 
organizing and educating the Roman Catholics, 
and is gone off greatly, they say, as a preacher. 
God bless you, my dearest Tom : I cannot tell 
you the almost painful longing I sometimes have 
to see you once more. 

The following year the brothers met again ; 
and there followed, almost immediately, my 
uncle's election to the Poetry Professorship 
at Oxford. He writes, in answer to my 
father's congratulations: 

HAMPTON, May 15, 1857. 

MY DEAR TOM, My thoughts have often 
turned to you during my canvass for the Pro- 
fessorship and they have turned to you more 
than ever during the last few days which I have 
been spending at Oxford. You alone of my 
brothers are associated with that life at Oxford, 
the freest and most delightful part, perhaps, of 
my life, when with you and Clough and Walrond 
I shook off all the bonds and formalities of the 
place, and enjoyed the spring of life and that 
unforgotten Oxfordshire and Berkshire country. 
Do you remember a poem of mine called "The 
Scholar Gipsy"? It was meant to fix the re- 
membrance of those delightful wanderings of ours 
in the Cumner hills before they were quite 
effaced and as such Clough and Walrond ac- 
cepted it, and it has had much success at Oxford, 

I am told, as was perhaps likely from its couleur 

72 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

locale. I am hardly ever at Oxford now, but the 
sentiment of the place is overpowering to me 
when I have leisure to feel it, and can shake 
off the interruptions which it is not so easy to 
shake off now as it was when we were young. 
But on Tuesday afternoon I smuggled myself 
away, and got up into one of our old coombs 
among the Cumner hills, and into a field waving 
deep with cowslips and grasses, and gathered 
such a bunch as you and I used to gather in the 
cowslip field on Lutterworth road long years ago. 
You dear old boy, I love your congratulations 
although I see and hear so little of you, and, alas! 
can see and hear but so little of you. I was sup- 
ported by people of all opinions, the great bond of 
union being, I believe, the affectionate interest 
felt in papa's memory. I think it probable that 
I shall lecture in English: there is no direction 
whatever in the Statute as to the language in 
which the lectures shall be: and the Latin has so 
died out, even among scholars, that it seems idle 
to entomb a lecture which, in English, might 
be stimulating and interesting. 

On the same occasion, writing to his 
mother, the new Professor gives an amusing 
account of the election day, when my uncle 
and aunt came up to town from Hampton, 
where they were living, in order to get 
telegraphic news of the polling from friends 
at Oxford. " Christ Church"--*, e., the High 
Church party in Oxford had put up an 

73 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

opposition candidate, and the excitement was 
great. My uncle was by this time the father 
of three small boys, Tom, Trevenen alias 
Budge and Richard " Diddy." 

We went first to the telegraph station at 
Charing Cross. Then, about 4, we got a mes- 
sage from Walrond "nothing certain is known, 
but it is rumored that you are ahead." Then 
we went to get some toys for the children in the 
Lowther Arcade, and could scarcely have found 
a more genuine distraction than in selecting 
wagons for Tom and Trev, with horses of 
precisely the same color, not one of which 
should have a hair more in his tail than the 
other and a musical cart for Diddy. A little 
after five we went back to the telegraph office, 
and got the following message "Nothing de- 
clared, but you are said to be quite safe. Go 
to Eaton Place." ["Eaton Place" was then the 
house of Judge Wightman, Mrs. Matthew Ar- 
nold's father.] To Eaton Place we went, and 
then a little after 6 o'clock we were joined by the 
Judge in the highest state of joyful excitement 
with the news of my majority of 85, which had 
been telegraphed to him from Oxford after he 
had started and had been given to him at Pad- 
dington Station. . . . The income is 130 a year 
or thereabouts: the duties consist as far as I 
can learn in assisting to look over the prize 
compositions, in delivering a Latin oration in 

praise of founders at every alternate commemora- 

74 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

tion, and in preparing and giving three Latin 
lectures on ancient poetry in the course of the 
year. These lectures I hope to give in English. 

The italics are mine. The intention ex- 
pressed here and in the letter to my father 
was, as is well known, carried out, and 
Matthew Arnold's Lectures at Oxford, to- 
gether with the other poetic and critical 
work produced by him during the years of 
his professorship, became so great a force in 
the development of English criticism and 
English taste, that the lifelike detail of this 
letter acquires a kind of historical value. As 
a child of fourteen I first made acquaintance 
with Oxford while my uncle was still Pro- 
fessor. I remember well some of his lect- 
ures, the crowded lecture-hall, the manner 
and personality of the speaker, and my own 
shy pride in him from a great distance. 
For I was a self-conscious, bookish child, and 
my days of real friendship with him were still 
far ahead. But during the years that fol- 
lowed, the ten years that he held his profes- 
sorship, what a spell he wielded over Oxford, 
and literary England in general! Looking 
back, one sees how the first series of Essays 
in Criticism, the Lectures on Celtic Literature, 
or On Translating Homer, Culture, and Anar- 
chy and the rest, were all the time working 

75 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

on English taste and feeling, whether through 
sympathy or antagonism; so that after those 
ten years, 1857-1867, the intellectual life of 
the country had absorbed, for good and all, 
an influence, and a stimulus, which had set 
it moving on new paths to new ends. With 
these thoughts in mind, supplying a com- 
ment on the letter which few people could 
have foreseen in 1857, let me quote a few 
more sentences: 

Keble voted for me after all. He told the 
Coleridges he was so much pleased with my 
letter (to the electors) that he could not refrain. 
... I had support from all sides. Archdeacon 
Denison voted for me, also Sir John Yarde 
Buller, and Henley, of the high Tory party. It 
was an immense victory some 200 more voted 
than have ever, it is said, voted in a Professorship 
election before. It is a great lesson to Christ 
Church, which was rather disposed to imagine it 
could carry everything by its great numbers. 

Good-by, my dearest mother. ... I have 
just been up to see the three dear little brown 
heads on their pillows, all asleep. . . . My af- 
fectionate thanks to Mrs. Wordsworth and Mrs. 
Fletcher for their kind interest in my success. 

It is pleasant to think of Wordsworth's 
widow, in her "old age serene and bright," 
and of the poet's old friend, Mrs. Fletcher, 

76 



THE FAMILY OF FOX HOW 

watching and rejoicing in the first triumphs 
of the younger singer. 

So the ten years of approach and attack- 
in the intellectual sense came to an end, 
and the ten central years of mastery and 
success began. Toward the end of that time, 
as a girl of sixteen, I became a resident in 
Oxford. Up to then Ruskin the Stones of 
Venice and certain chapters in Modern 
Painters had been my chief intellectual pas- 
sion in a childhood and first youth that cut 
but a very poor figure, as I look back upon 
them, beside the "wonderful children" of 
this generation! But it must have been 
about 1868 that I first read Essays in 
Criticism. It is not too much to say that the 
book set for me the currents of life; its 
effect heightened, no doubt, by the sense of 
kinship. Above all it determined in me, as 
in many others, an enduring love of France 
and of French literature, which played the 
part of schoolmaster to a crude youth. I 
owe this to my uncle, and it was a priceless 
boon. If he had only lived a little longer 
if he had not died so soon after I had really 
begun to know him how many debts to 
him would have been confessed, how many 
things said, which, after all, were never said! 



CHAPTER IV 

OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

I HAVE now to sketch some other figures 
* in the Fox How circle, together with a 
few of the intimate friends who mingled with 
it frequently, and very soon became names 
of power to the Tasmanian child also. 

Let me take first Doctor Arnold's third 
son, "Uncle Willy" my father's junior by 
some four years. William Delafield Arnold 
is secure of long remembrance, one would 
fain think, if only as the subject of Matthew 
Arnold's two memorial poems "A Southern 
Night" and "Stanzas from Carnac." But 
in truth he had many and strong claims of 
his own. His youth was marked by that 
" restlessness," which is so often spoken of 
in the family letters as a family quality and 
failing. My father's "restlessness" made 
him throw up a secure niche in English life, 
for the New Zealand adventure. The same 
temperament in Mary Twining, the young 
widow of twenty-two, took her to London, 
away from the quiet of the Ambleside valley, 
and made her an ardent follower of Maurice, 
Kingsley, and Carlyle. And in Willy, the 

78 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

third son, it showed itself first in a revolt 
against Oxford, while he was still at Christ 
Church, leading to his going out to India 
and joining the Indian Army, at the age of 
twenty, only to find the life of an Indian 
subaltern all but intolerable, and to plunge 
for a time at least into fresh schemes of 
change. 

Among the early photographs at Fox How 
there is a particularly fine daguerreotype of 
a young officer in uniform, almost a boy, 
slim and well proportioned, with piled curly 
hair, and blue eyes, which in the late 'fifties 
I knew as " Uncle Willy"; and there were 
other photographs on glass of the same young 
man, where this handsome face appeared 
again, grown older much older the boyish 
look replaced by an aspect of rather grave 
dignity. In the later pictures he was grouped 
with children, whom I knew as my Indian 
cousins. But him, in the flesh, I had never 
seen. He was dead. His wife was dead. 
On the landing bookcase of Fox How there 
was, however, a book in two blue volumes, 
which I soon realized as .a "novel," 
called Oakfield, which had been written by 
the handsome young soldier in the daguerreo- 
type. I tried to read it, but found it was 
about things and persons in which I could 
then take no interest. But its author re- 

79 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

mained to me a mysteriously attractive 
figure; and when the time came for me to 
read my Uncle Matthew's poems, "A South- 
ern Night," describing the death at Gibraltar 
of this soldier uncle, became a great favorite 
with me. I could see it all as Matthew 
Arnold described it the steamer approach- 
ing Gibraltar, the landing, and the pale in- 
valid with the signs on him of that strange 
thing called " death," which to a child that 
" feels its life in every limb" has no real 
meaning, though the talk of it may lead 
vaguely to tears, as that poem often did 
with me. 

Later on, of course, I read Oakfield, and 
learned to take a more informed pride in the 
writer of it. But it was not until a number 
of letters written from India by William 
Arnold to my father in New Zealand between 
1848 and 1855, with a few later ones, came 
into my possession, at my father's death, 
that I really seemed to know this dear van- 
ished kinsman, though his orphaned children 
had always been my friends. 

The letters of 1848 and 1849 read like notes 
for Oakfield. They were written in bitter- 
ness of soul by a very young man, with high 
hopes and ideals, fresh from the surround- 
ings of Oxford and Rugby, from the training 
of the Schoolhouse and Fox How, and 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

plunged suddenly into a society of boys 
the subalterns of the Bengal Native Infantry 
living for the most part in idleness, often 
a vicious idleness, without any restraining 
public opinion, and practically unshepherded, 
amid the temptations of the Indian climate 
and life. They show that the novel is, in- 
deed, as was always supposed, largely auto- 
biographical, and the references in them to 
the struggle with the Indian climate point 
sadly forward to the writer's own fate, ten 
years later, when, like the hero of his novel, 
Edward Oakfield, he fell a victim to Indian 
heat and Indian work. The novel was pub- 
lished in 1853, while its author was at home 
on a long sick leave, and is still remembered 
for the anger and scandal it provoked in 
India, and the reforms to which, no doubt, 
after the Mutiny, it was one of the contribut- 
ing impulses. It is, indeed, full of interest 
for any student of the development of Anglo- 
Indian life and society; even when one re- 
members how, soon after it was published, 
the great storm of the Mutiny came rushing 
over the society it describes, changing and 
uprooting everywhere. As fiction, it suf- 
fers from the Rugby "earnestness" which 
overmasters in it any purely artistic impulse, 
while infusing a certain fire and unity of its 
own. But various incidents in the story 

81 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the quarrel at the mess-table, the horse- 
whipping, the court martial, the death of 
Vernon, and the meeting between Oakfield 
and Stafford, the villain of the piece, after 
Chilianwallah are told with force, and might 
have led on, had the writer lived, to some- 
thing more detached and mature in the way 
of novel-writing. 

But there were few years left to him, 
"poor gallant boy!" to quote the phrase 
of his poet brother; and within them he 
was to find his happiness and his opportunity 
in love and in public service, not in literature. 

Nothing could be more pathetic than the 
isolation and revolt of the early letters. The 
boy Ensign is desperately homesick, pining 
for Fox How, for his mother and sisters, for 
the Oxford he had so easily renounced, for the 
brothers parted from him by such leagues 
of land and sea. 

The fact that one learns first in India [he says, 
bitterly] is the profound ignorance which exists 
in England about it. You know how one hears 
it spoken of always as a magnificent field for 
exertion, and this is true enough in one way, for 
if a man does emerge at all, he emerges the more 
by contrast he is a triton among minnows. 
But I think the responsibility of those who keep 
sending out here young fellows of sixteen and 
seventeen fresh from a private school or Addis- 

82 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

combe is quite awful. The stream is so strong, 
the society is so utterly worldly and mercenary 
in its best phase, so utterly and inconceivably 
low and profligate in its worst, that it is not 
strange that at so early an age, eight out of ten 
sink beneath it. ... One soon observes here 
how seldom one meets a happy man. 

I came out here with three great advantages [he 
adds]. First, being twenty instead of seventeen; 
secondly not having been at Addiscombe; third, 
having been at Rugby and Christ Church. This 
gives me a sort of position but still I know 
the danger is awful for constitutionally I believe 
I am as little able to stand the peculiar trials of 
Indian life as anybody. 

And he goes on to say that if ever he feels 
himself in peril of sinking to the level of what 
he loathes "I will go at once." By coming 
out to India he had bound himself to one 
thing only "to earn my own bread." But 
he is not bound to earn it "as a gentleman." 
The day may come 

when I shall ask for a place on your farm, and 
if you ask how I am to get there, you, Tom, are 
not the person to deny that a man who is in 
earnest and capable of forming a resolution can 
do more difficult things than getting from India 
to New Zealand! 

And he winds up with yearning affection 
toward the elder brother so far away. 

7 83 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

I think of you very often our excursion to 
Keswick and Greta Hall, our walk over Hardknot 
and Wrynose, our bathes in the old Allen Bank 
bathing-place [Grasmere], our parting in the cab 
at the corner of Mount St. One of my pleasant- 
est but most difficult problems is when and where 
we shall meet again. 

In another letter, written a year later, the 
tone is still despondent. "It is no affecta- 
tion to say that I feel my life, in one way, 
cannot now be a happy one." He feels it his 
duty for the present to "lie still," as Keble 
says, to think, it may be to suffer. "But in 
my castle-buildings I often dream of coming 
to you." He appreciates, more fully than 
ever before, Tom's motives in going to New 
Zealand the desire that may move a man 
to live his own life in a new and freer world. 
"But when I am asked, as I often am, why 
you went, I always grin and let people answer 
themselves; for I could not hope to explain 
without preaching a sermon. An act of 
faith and conviction cannot be understood 
by the light of worldly motives and interests; 
and to blow out this light, and bring the true 
one, is not the work of a young man with his 
own darkness to struggle through; so I grin 
as aforesaid." "God is teaching us," he 
adds i. e., the different members of the family 
"by separation, absence, and suffering." 

84 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

And he winds up "Good-by. I never like 
finishing a letter to you it seems like letting 
you fall back again to such infinite distance. 
And you are often very near me, and the 
thought of you is often cheery and helpful 
to me in my own conflict." Even up to 
January, 1850, he is still thinking of New 
Zealand, and signing himself, "ever, dear 
Tom, whether I am destined to see you soon, 
or never again in this world Your most 
truly affectionate brother." 

Alack! the brothers never did meet again, 
in this world which both took so hardly. 
But for Willy a transformation scene was 
near. After two years in India, his gift and 
his character had made their mark. He had 
not only been dreaming of New Zealand; 
besides his daily routine, he had been work- 
ing hard at Indian languages and history. 
The Lawrences, both John and Henry, had 
found him out, and realized his quality. It 
was at Sir Henry Lawrence's house in the 
spring of 1850 that he met Miss Fanny 
Hodgson, daughter of the distinguished sol- 
dier and explorer, General Hodgson, dis- 
coverer of the sources of the Ganges, and 
at that time the Indian Surveyor-General. 
The soldier of twenty-three fell instantly in 
love, and tumult and despondency melted 
away. The next letter to New Zealand is 

85 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

pitched in quite another key. He still judges 
Indian life and Indian government with a 
very critical eye. "The Alpha and Omega 
of the whole evil in Indian Society" is "the 
regarding India as a rupee-mine, instead of 
a Colony, and ourselves as Fortune-hunters 
and Pension-earners rather than as emigrants 
and missionaries." And outside his domestic 
life his prospects are still uncertain. But 
with every mail one can see the strained 
spirit relaxing, yielding to the spell of love 
and to the honorable interests of an opening 
life. 

"To-day, my Thomas [October 2, 18501, 
I sit, a married man in the Bengal army, 
writing to a brother, it may be a married 
man, in Van Diemen's Land." (Rumors of 
Tom's courtship of Julia Sorell had evidently 
just reached him.) He goes on to describe 
his married home at Hoshyarpore, and his 
work at Indian languages. He has been 
reading Carlyle's Cromwell, and marveling 
at the "rapid rush of thought which seems 
more and more to be engrossing people in 
England!" "In India you will easily be- 
lieve that the torpor is still unbroken." 
(The Mutiny was only seven short years 
ahead!) And he is still conscious of the 
"many weights which do beset and embitter 
a man's life in India." But a new stay 

86 



within, the reconciliation that love brings 
about between a man and the world, upholds 
him. 

'"To draw homeward to the general life/ 
which you, and dear Matt himself, and I, 
and all of us, are or at least may be living, 
independent of all the accidents of time and 
circumstance this is a great alleviation." 
The "fundamentals" are safe. He dwells 
happily on the word "a good word, in 
which you and I, so separated, as far as 
accidents go, it may be for all time, can find 
great comfort, speaking as it does of Eter- 
nity." One sees what is in his mind the 
brother's "little book of poems" published 
a year before: 

Yet they, believe me, who await 
No gifts from chance, have conquered fate, 
They, winning room to see and hear, 
And to men's business not too near 
Though clouds of individual strife 
Draw homeward to the general life. 

To the wise, foolish; to the world 
Weak; yet not weak, I might reply, 
Not foolish, Fausta, in His eye, 
To whom each moment in its race, 
Crowd as we will its neutral space, 
Is but a quiet watershed 
Whence, equally, the seas of life and death are fed. 

87 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Six months later the younger brother has 
heard "as a positive fact" of Tom's marriage, 
and writes, with affectionate " chaff": 

I wonder whether it has changed you much? 
not made a Tory of you, I'll undertake to say! 
But it is wonderfully sobering. After all, Master 
Tom, it is not the very exact finale which we 
should have expected to your Republicanism of 
the last three or four years, to find you a re- 
spectable married man, holding a permanent 
appointment! 

Matt's marriage, too, stands pre-eminent 
among the items of family news. What 
blind judges, sometimes, the most attached 
brothers are of each other! 

I hear too by this mail of Matt's engagement, 
which suggests many thoughts. I own that 
Matt is one of the very last men in the world 
whom I can fancy happily married or rather 
happy in matrimony. But I dare say I reckon 
without my host, for there was such a "longum 
intervallum" between dear old Matt and me, 
that even that last month hi town, when I saw 
so much of him, though there was the most entire 
absence of elder-brotherism on his part, and only 
the most kind and thoughtful affection, for which 
I shall always feel grateful, yet our intercourse 
was that of man and boy; and though the dif- 
ference of years was not so formidable as between 

88 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

" Matthew" and Wordsworth, yet we were less 
than they a "pair of Friends," though a pair of 
very loving brothers. 

But even in this gay and charming letter 
one begins to see the shadows cast by the 
doom to come. The young wife has gone to 
Simla, having been " delicate" for some time. 
The young husband stays behind, fighting 
the heat. 

The hot weather, old boy, is coming on like a 
tiger. It is getting on for ten at night; but we 
sit with windows all wide open, the punkah 
going, the thinnest conceivable garments, and 
yet we sweat, my brother, very profusely. . . . 
To-morrow I shall be up at gun-fire, about half- 
past four A.M. and drive down to the civil station, 
about three miles off, to see a friend, an officer 
of our own corps . . . who is sick, return, take my 
Bearer's daily account, write a letter or so, and 
lie down with Don Quixote under a punkah, go 
to sleep the first chapter that Sancho lets me, 
and sleep till ten, get up, bathe, re-dress and 
breakfast; do my daily business, such as it is 
hard work, believe me, in a hot sleep-inducing, 
intestine-withering climate, till sunset, when 
doors and windows are thrown open . . . and 
mortals go out to "eat the air," as the natives say. 

The climate, indeed, had already begun its 
deadly attack upon an organism as fine and 

89 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

sensitive as any of the myriad victims which 
the secret forces of India's sun and soil have 
exacted from her European invaders. In 
1853, William Delafield Arnold came home 
invalided, with his wife and his elder two 
children. The third, Oakeley (the future 
War Minister in Mr. Balfour's Government), 
was born in England in 1855. There were 
projects of giving up India and settling at 
home. The young soldier whose literary 
gift, always conspicuous among the nine in 
the old childish Fox How days, and already 
shown in Oakfield, was becoming more and 
more marked, was at this time a frequent 
contributor to the Times, the Economist, and 
Fraser, and was presently offered the editor- 
ship of the Economist. But just as he was 
about to accept it, came a flattering offer 
from India, no doubt through the influence 
of Sir John Lawrence, of the Directorship of 
Public Instruction in the Punjaub. He 
thought himself bound to accept it, and with 
his wife and two children went out again at 
the end of 1855. His business was to or- 
ganize the whole of native education injthe 
Punjaub, and he did it so well during the 
short time that remained to him before the 
Mutiny broke out, that during all that time 
of terror, education in the Punjaub was never 
interrupted, the attendances at the schools 

90 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

never dropped, and the young Director went 
about his work, not knowing often, indeed, 
whether the whole province might not be 
aflame within twenty-four hours, and its 
Anglo-Indian administration wiped out, but 
none the less undaunted and serene. 

To this day, three portrait medals in gold 
and silver are given every year to the best 
pupils in the schools of the Punjaub, the 
product of a fund raised immediately after 
his death by William Arnold's fellow-workers 
there, in order to commemorate his short 
heroic course in that far land, and to pre- 
serve, if they could, some record of that 
"sweet stateliness" of aspect, to use the ex- 
pression of one who loved him, which "had 
so fascinated his friends." 

The Mutiny passed. Sir John Lawrence 
paid public and flattering tribute to the young 
official who had so amply justified a great 
man's choice. And before the storm had act- 
ually died away, within a fortnight of the fall 
of Delhi, while it was not yet certain that the 
troops on their way would arrive in time to 
prevent further mischief, my uncle, writing to 
my father of the awful days of suspense from 
the 14th to the 30th of September, says : 

A more afflicted country than this has been 
since I returned to it in November, 1855 

91 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

afflicted by Dearth Deluge Pestilence far 
worse than war, it would be hard to imagine. 
In the midst of it all, the happiness of our domestic 
life has been almost perfect. 

With that touching sentence the letters 
to my father, so far, at least, as I possess 
them, come to an end. Alas! In the follow- 
ing year the gentle wife and mother, worn 
out by India, died at a hill-station in the 
Himalayas, and a few months later her 
husband, ill and heartbroken, sent his 
motherless children home by long sea, and 
followed himself by the overland route. Too 
late! He was taken ill in Egypt, struggled 
on to Malta, and was put ashore at Gibraltar 
to die. From Cairo he had written to the 
beloved mother who was waiting for him in 
that mountain home he so longed to reach, 
that he hoped to be able to travel in a 
fortnight. 

But do not trust to this. . . . Do not in fact 
expect me till you hear that I am hi London. 
I much fear that it may be long before I see dear, 
dear Fox How. In London I must have advice, 
and I feel sure I shall be ordered to the South of 
England till the hot weather is well advanced. 
I must wait too in London for the darling 
children. But once in London, I cannot but 
think my dearest mother will manage to see me, 

92 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

and I have even had visions of your making one 
of your spring tours, and going with me to 
Torquay or wherever I may go. . . . Plans 
plans plans! They will keep. 

And a few days later: 

As I said before, do not expect me in England 
till you hear I am there. Perhaps I was too 
eager to get home. Assuredly I have been 
checked, and I feel as if there were much trouble 
between me and home yet. ... I see in the 
papers the death of dear Mrs. Wordsworth. . . . 
Ever my beloved mother . . . 
Your very loving son, 

W. D. ARNOLD. 

He started for England, but at Gibraltar, 
a dying man, was carried ashore. His younger 
brother, sent out from England in post 
haste, missed him by ill chance at Alexandria 
and Malta, and arrived too late. He was 
buried under the shelter of the Rock of 
Spain and the British flag. His intimate 
friend, Meredith Townsend, the joint editor 
and creator of the Spectator, wrote to the 
Times shortly after his death: 

William Arnold did not live long enough (he 
was thirty-one) to gain his true place in the 
world, but he had time enough given him to 
make himself of importance to a Government 

93 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

like that of Lord Dalhousie, to mold the educa- 
tion of a great province, and to win the enduring 
love of all with whom he ever came in contact. 

It was left, however, for his poet-brother 
to build upon his early grave "the living 
record of his memory." A month after 
"Willy's" death, "Matt" was wandering 
where 

beneath me, bright and wide 
Lay the low coast of Brittany 

with the thought of "Willy" in his mind, as 
he turns to the sea that will never now bring 
the wanderer home. 

O, could he once have reached the air 
Freshened by plunging tides, by showers! 

Have felt this breath he loved, of fair 
Cool northern fields, and grain, and flowers. 

He longed for it pressed on! In vain! 

At the Straits failed that spirit brave, 
The south was parent of his pain, 

The south is mistress of his grave. 

Or again, in "A Southern Night" where 
he muses on the "two jaded English," man 
and wife, who lie, one under the Himalayas, 
the other beside "the soft Mediterranean." 
And his first thought is that for the "spent 

94 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

ones of a work-day age," such graves are 
out of keeping. 

In cities should we English lie 

Where cries are rising ever new, 
And men's incessant stream goes by! 

Not by those hoary Indian hills, 
Not by this gracious Midland sea 

Whose floor to-night sweet moonshine fills 
Should our graves be! 

Some Eastern sage pursuing "the pure goal 
of being" "He by those Indian mountains 
old, might well repose." Crusader, trouba- 
dour, or maiden dying for love- 
Such by these waters of romance 
'Twas meet to lay! 

And then he turns upon himself. For 
what is beauty, what wisdom, what romance 
if not the tender goodness of women, if not 
the high soul of youth? 

Mild o'er her grave, ye mountains, shine! 

Gently by his, ye waters, glide! 
To that in you which is divine 

They were allied. 

Only a few days after their father's death, 
the four orphan children of the William 
Arnolds arrived at Fox How. They were 
immediately adopted as their own by William 

95 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and Jane Forster, who had no children; and 
later they added the name of Forster to that 
of Arnold. At that moment I was at school 
at Ambleside, and I remember well my first 
meeting with the Indian children, and how 
I wondered at their fair skins and golden 
hair and frail, ethereal looks. 

By this time Fox How was in truth a 
second home to me. But I have still to 
complete the tale of those who made it so. 
Edward Penrose, the Doctor's fourth son, 
who died in 1878, on the threshold of fifty, 
was a handsome, bearded man of winning 
presence and of many friends. He was at 
Balliol, then a Fellow of All Souls, and in 
Orders. But he first found his real vocation 
as an Inspector of Schools in Devon and 
Cornwall, and for eighteen years, from 1860 
to 1878, through the great changes in ele- 
mentary education produced by his brother- 
in-law's Education Act, he was the ever- 
welcome friend of teachers and children all 
over the wide and often remote districts of 
the West country which his work covered. 
He had not the gifts of his elder brothers 
neither the genius of Matthew nor the restless 
energy and initiative of William Delafield, 
nor the scholarly and researching tastes of 
my father; and his later life was always a 
struggle against ill-health. But he had Mat- 

96 



OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

thew's kindness, and Matthew's humor the 
"chaff" between the two brothers was end- 
less! and a large allowance of William's 
charm. His unconscious talk in his last ill- 
ness was often of children. He seemed to see 
them before him in the country school-rooms, 
where his coming the coming of "the tall 
gentleman with the kind blue eyes," as an 
eye-witness describes him was a festa, ex- 
cellent official though he was. He carried 
enthusiasm into the cause of popular educa- 
tion, and that is not a very common en- 
thusiasm in this country of ours. Yet the 
cause is nothing more nor less than the cause 
of the international intelligence, and its sharp- 
ening for the national tasks. But education 
has always been the Cinderella of politics; this 
nation apparently does not love to be taught ! 
Those who grapple with its stubbornness in 
this field can never expect the ready palm 
that falls to the workers in a dozen other 
fields. But in the seed sown, and the human 
duty done, they find their reward. 

"Aunt Mary," Arnold's second daughter, 
I have already spoken of. When my father 
and mother reached England from Tasmania, 
she had just married again, a Leicestershire 
clergyman, with a house and small estate 
near Loughborough. Her home Wood- 
house on the borders of Charnwood Forest, 

97 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and the beautiful Beaumanoir Park, was 
another fairyland to me and to my cousins. 
Its ponds and woods and reed-beds; its 
distant summer-house between two waters, 
where one might live and read and dream 
through long summer hours, undisturbed; its 
pleasant rooms, above all the "tapestry 
room" where I generally slept, and which 
I always connected with the description of 
the huntsman on the "arras," in "Tristram 
and Iseult"; the Scott novels I devoured 
there, and the "Court" nights at Beau- 
manoir, where some feudal customs were still 
kept up, and its beautiful mistress, Mrs. 
Herrick, the young wife of an old man, 
queened it very graciously over neighbors 
and tenants all these are among the last- 
ing memories of life. Mrs. Herrick became 
identified in my imagination with each suc- 
cessive Scott heroine, Rowena, Isabella, 
Rose Bradwardine, the White Lady of 
Avenel, and the rest. But it was Aunt 
Mary herself, after all, who held the scene. 
In that Leicestershire world of High Tory- 
ism, she raised the Liberal flag her father's 
flag with indomitable courage, but also 
with a humor which, after the tragic hours 
of her youth, flowered out in her like something 
new and unexpectedly delightful. It must 
have been always there, but not till marriage 

98 



.OTHER CHILDREN OF FOX HOW 

and motherhood, and F. D. Maurice's in- 
fluence, had given her peace of soul does it 
seem to have shown itself as I remember it 
a golden and pervading quality, which made 
life unfailingly pleasant beside her. Her 
clear, dark eyes, with their sweet sincerity, 
and the touch in them of a quiet laughter, 
of which the causes were not always clear 
to the bystanders, her strong face with its 
points of likeness to her father's, and all her 
warm and most human personality they 
are still vividly present to me, though it is 
nearly thirty years since, after an hour or 
two's pain, she died suddenly and unexpect- 
edly, of the same malady that killed her 
father. Consumed in her youth by a pas- 
sionate idealism, she had accepted at the 
hands of life, and by the age of four and 
twenty, a lot by no means ideal a home in 
the depths of the country, among neighbors 
often uncongenial, and far from the intel- 
lectual pleasures she had tasted during her 
young widowhood in London. But out of 
this lot she made something beautiful, and 
all her own by sheer goodness, conscience, 
intelligence. She had her angles and incon- 
sistencies; she often puzzled those who 
loved her; but she had a large brain and a 
large heart; and for us colonial children, con- 
scious of many disadvantages beside our 

8 99 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

English-born cousins, she had a peculiar 
tenderness, a peculiar laughing sympathy, 
that led us to feel in "Aunt Maria" one of 
our best friends. 

Susan Arnold, the Doctor's fourth daugh- 
ter, married Mr. John Cropper in 1858, and 
here, too, in her house beside the Mersey, 
among fields and trees that still maintain a 
green though besmutted oasis in the busy 
heart of Liverpool, that girdles them now on 
all sides, and will soon engulf them, there 
were kindness and welcome for the little 
Tasmanians. She died a few years ago, 
mourned and missed by her own people 
those lifelong neighbors who know truly 
what we are. Of the fifth daughter, Frances, 
"Aunt Fan," I may not speak, because she 
is still with us in the old house alive to 
every political and intellectual interest of 
these darkened days, beloved by innumerable 
friends in many worlds, and making sun- 
shine still for Arnold's grandchildren and 
their children's children. But it was to her 
that my own stormy childhood was chiefly 
confided, at Fox How; it was she who taught 
the Tasmanian child to read, and grappled 
with her tempers; and while she is there 
the same magic as of old clings about Fox 
How for those of us who have loved it, and 

all it stands for, so long. 

100 



CHAPTER V 

THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

IT remains for me now to say something 
* of those friends of Fox How and my 
father whose influence, or whose living pres- 
ence, made the atmosphere in which the 
second generation of children who loved Fox 
How grew up. 

Wordsworth died in 1850, the year before 
I was born. He and my grandfather were 
much attached to each other "old Cole- 
ridge," says my grandfather, "inoculated a 
little knot of us with the love of Wordsworth " 
though their politics were widely different, 
and the poet sometimes found it hard to put 
up with the reforming views of the younger 
man. In a letter printed in Stanley's Life 
my grandfather mentions "a good fight" 
with Wordsworth over the Reform Bill of 
1832, on a walk to Greenhead Ghyll. And 
there is a story told of a girl friend of the 
family who, once when Wordsworth had 
been paying a visit at Fox How, accom- 
panied him and the Doctor part of the way 
home to Rydal Mount. Something was in- 
advertently said to stir the old man's Tory- 

101 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ism, and he broke out in indignant denuncia- 
tion of some views expressed by Arnold. 
The storm lasted all the way to Pelter Bridge, 
and the girl on Arnold's left stole various 
alarmed glances at him to see how he was 
taking it. He said little or nothing, and at 
Pelter Bridge they all parted, Wordsworth 
going on to Rydal Mount, and the other two 
turning back toward Fox How. Arnold 
paced along, his hands behind his back, his 
eyes on the ground, and his companion 
watched him, till he suddenly threw back 
his head with a laugh of enjoyment. 
"What beautiful English the old man 
talks!" 

The poet complained sometimes as I 
find from an amusing passage in the letter to 
Mr. Howson quoted below, that he could not 
see enough of his neighbor, the Doctor, on a 
mountain walk, because Arnold was always 
so surrounded with children and pupils, "like 
little dogs"' running round and after him. 
But no differences,' great or small, interfered 
with his constant friendship to Fox How. 
The garden there was largely planned by him 
during the family absences at Rugby; the 
round chimneys of the house are said to be 
of his design; and it was for Fox How, 
which still possesses the MS., that the fine 

sonnet was written, beginning 

102 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

Wansfell, this household has a favored lot 
Living with liberty on thee to gaze 

a sonnet which contains, surely, two or 
three of the most magical lines that Words- 
worth ever wrote. 

It is of course no purpose of these notes to 
give any fresh account of Wordsworth at 
Rydal, or any exhaustive record of the rela- 
tions between the Wordsworths and Fox 
How, especially after the recent publication 
of Professor Harper's fresh, interesting, 
though debatable biography. But from the 
letters in my hands I glean a few things 
worth recording. Here, for instance, is a 
passing picture of Matthew Arnold and 
Wordsworth in the Fox How drawing-room 
together, in January, 1848, which I find in 
a letter from my grandmother to my 
father: 

Matt has been very much pleased, I think, by 
what he has seen of dear old Wordsworth since 
he has been at home, and certainly he manages 
to draw him out very well. The old man was 
here yesterday, and as he sat on the stool in the 
corner beside the fire which you knew so well, 
he talked of various subjects of interest, of 
Italian poetry, of Coleridge, etc., etc.; and he 
looked and spoke with more vigor than he has 
often done lately. 

103 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

But the poet's health was failing. His 
daughter Dora's death in 1847 had hit him 
terribly hard, and his sister's state the help- 
less though gentle insanity of the unique, 
the beloved Dorothy weighed heavily on 
his weakening strength. I find a touching 
picture of him in the unpublished letter re- 
ferred to on a previous page, written in this 
very year 1848 to Dean Howson, as a 
young man, by his former pupil, the late 
Duke of Argyll, the distinguished author of 
The Reign of Law which Dean Howson's 
son and the Duke's grandson allow me to 
print. The Rev. J. S. Howson, afterward 
Dean of Chester, married a sister of the John 
Cropper who married Susan Arnold, and 
was thus a few years later brought into con- 
nection with the Arnolds and Fox How. 
The Duke and Duchess had set out to visit 
both the Lakes and the Lakes " celebrities," 
advised, evidently, as to their tour, by the 
Duke's old tutor, who was already familiar 
with the valleys and some of their inmates. 
Their visit to Fox How is only briefly men- 
tioned, but of Wordsworth and Rydal Mount 
the Duke gives a long account. The picture, 
first, of drooping health and spirits, and then 
of the flaming out of the old poetic fire, 
will, I think, interest any true Words- 
worthian. 

104 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

On Saturday [writes the Duke] we reached 
Ambleside and soon after drove to Rydal Mount. 
We found the Poet seated at his fireside, and a 
little languid in manner. He became less so as 
he talked. . . . He talked incessantly, but not 
generally interestingly. ... I looked at him often 
and asked myself if that was the man who had 
stamped the impress of his own mind so decidedly 
on a great part of the literature of his age! He 
took us to see a waterfall near his house, and talked 
and chattered, but said nothing remarkable or even 
thoughtful. Yet I could see that all this was only 
that we were on the surface, and did not indicate 
any decay of mental powers. [Still] we went away 
with no other impression than the vaguest of hav- 
ing seen the man, whose writings we knew so 
well and with no feeling that we had seen any- 
thing of the mind which spoke through them. 

On the following day, Sunday, the Duke 
with a friend walked over to Rydal, but found 
no one at the Mount but an invalid lady, very 
old, and apparently paralyzed, "drawn in a 
bath chair by a servant." They did not realize 
that the poor sufferer, with her wandering 
speech and looks, was Dorothy Wordsworth, 
whose share in her great brother's fame will 
never be forgotten while literature lasts. 

In the evening, however 

. . . after visiting Mrs. Arnold we drove together 
to bid Wordsworth good-by, as we were to go 

105 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

next morning. We found the old man as before, 
seated by the fireside and languid and sleepy in 
manner. Again he awakened as conversation 
went on, and, a stranger coming in, we rose to 
go away. He seemed unwilling that we should 
go so soon, and said he would walk out with us. 
We went to the mound in front, and the Duchess 
then asked if he would repeat some of his own 
lines to us. He said he hardly thought he could 
do that, but that he would have been glad to read 
some to us. We stood looking at the view for 
some tune, when Mrs. Wordsworth came out 
and asked us back to the house to take some tea. 
This was just what we wanted. We sat for 
about half an hour at tea, during which I tried 
to direct the conversation to interesting subjects 
Coleridge, Southey, etc. He gave a very dif- 
ferent impression from the preceding evening. 
His memory seemed clear and unclouded his 
remarks forcible and decided with some ten- 
dency to run off to irrelevant anecdote. 

When tea was over, we renewed our request 
that he should read to us. He said, "Oh dear, 
that is terrible!" but consented, asking what we 
chose. He jumped at "Tintern Abbey" in 
preference to any part of the "Excursion." 

He told us he had written "Tintern Abbey" 
in 1798, taking four days to compose it; the last 
twenty lines or so being composed as he walked 
down the hill from Clifton to Bristol. It was 
curious to feel that we were to hear a Poet 
read his own verses composed fifty years before. 

He read the introductory lines descriptive of 
106 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

the scenery in a low, clear voice. But when he 
came to the thoughtful and reflective lines, his 
tones deepened and he poured them forth with a 
fervor and almost passion of delivery which was 
very striking and beautiful. I observed that 
Mrs. Wordsworth was strongly affected during 
the reading. The strong emphasis that he put 
on the words addressed to the person to whom 
the poem is written struck me as almost un- 
natural at the time. "My DEAE, DEAR friend!" 
and on the words, "In thy wild eyes." It 
was not till after the reading was over that we 
found out that the poor paralytic invalid we had 
seen in the morning was the sister to whom "Tin- 
tern Abbey" was addressed, and her condition, 
now, accounted for the fervor with which the 
old Poet read lines which reminded him of their 
better days. But it was melancholy to think 
that the vacant gaze we had seen in the morning 
was from the "wild eyes" of 1798. 

. . . We could not have had a better oppor- 
tunity of bringing out in his reading the source 
of the inspiration of his poetry, which it was 
impossible not to feel was the poetry of the 
heart. Mrs. Wordsworth told me it was the 
first time he had read since his daughter's death, 
and that she was thankful to us for having made 
him do it, as he was apt to fall into a listless, 
languid state. We asked him to come to In- 
verary. He said he had not courage; as he 
had last gone through that country with his 
daughter, and he feared it would be too much 
for him. 

107 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Less than two years after this visit, on 
April 23, 1850, the deathday of Shakespeare 
and Cervantes, Arnold's youngest daugh- 
ter, now Miss Arnold of Fox How, was 
walking with her sister Susan on the side of 
Loughrigg which overlooks Rydal Mount. 
They knew that the last hour of a great poet 
was near to my aunts, not only a great 
poet, but the familiar friend of their dead 
father and all their kindred. They moved 
through the April day, along the mountain- 
side, under the shadow of death; and, sud- 
denly, as they looked at the old house oppo- 
site, unseen hands drew down the blinds; 
and by the darkened windows they knew 
that the life of Wordsworth had gone out. 

Henceforward, in the family letters to my 
father, it is Mrs. Wordsworth who comes 
into the foreground. The old age prophesied 
for her by her poet bridegroom in the early 
Grasmere days was about her for the nine 
years of her widowhood, " lovely as a Lap- 
land night"; or rather like one of her own 
Rydal evenings when the sky is clear over 
the perfect little lake, and the reflections of 
island and wood and fell go down and down, 
unearthly far into the quiet depths, and 
Wansfell still "parleys with the setting sun." 
My grandmother writes of her of "her 
sweet grace and dignity," and the little 

108 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

friendly acts she is always doing for this 
person and that, gentle or simple, in the 
valley with a tender enthusiasm. She is 
" dear Mrs. Wordsworth " always, for them all. 
And it is my joy that in the year 1856 or 1857 
my grandmother took me to Rydal Mount, 
and that I can vividly recollect sitting on a 
footstool at Mrs. Wordsworth's feet. I see 
still the little room, with its plain furniture, 
the chair beside the fire, and the old lady in 
it. I can still recall the childish feeling that 
this was no common visit, and the house no 
common house that a presence still haunted 
it. Instinctively the childish mind said to 
itself, " Remember!" and I have always 
remembered. 

A few years later I was again, as a child 
of eight, in Rydal Mount. Mrs. Words- 
worth was dead, and there was a sale in the 
house. From far and near the neighbors 
came, very curious, very full of real regret, 
and a little awe-stricken. They streamed 
through the rooms where the furniture was 
arranged in lots. I wandered about by my- 
self, and presently came upon something 
which absorbed me so that I forgot every- 
thing else a store of Easter eggs, with 
wonderful drawings and devices, made by 
" James," the Rydal Mount factotum, in the 
poet's day. I recollect sitting down with 

109 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

them in a nearly empty room, dreaming over 
them in a kind of ecstasy, because of their 
pretty, strange colors and pictures. 

Fifty-two years passed, and I found my- 
self, in September, 1911, the tenant of a 
renovated and rebuilt Rydal Mount, for a 
few autumn weeks. The house was oc- 
cupied then, and is still occupied by Words- 
worth's great-granddaughter and her hus- 
band Mr. and Mrs. Fisher Wordsworth. 
My eldest daughter was with me, and a 
strange thing happened to us. I arrived at 
the Mount before my husband and daughter. 
She joined me there on September 13th. I 
remember how eagerly I showed her the 
many Wordsworthiana in the house, col- 
lected by the piety of its mistress the Hay- 
don portrait on the stairs, and the books, 
in the small low-ceiled room to the right of 
the hall, which is still just as it was in 
Wordsworth's day; the garden, too, and the 
poet's walk. All my own early recollections 
were alive; we chattered long and late. And 
now let the account of what happened after- 
ward be given in my daughter's words as she 
wrote it down for me the following morning. 

RYDAL MOUNT, September 14, 1911. 

Last night, my first at Rydal Mount, I slept 

in the corner room, over the small sitting-room. 

110 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

I had drawn up the blind about half-way up 
the window before going to bed, and had drawn 
the curtain aside, over the back of a wooden 
arm-chair that stood against the window. The 
window, a casement, was wide open. I slept 
soundly, but woke quite suddenly, at what hour 
I do not know, and found myself sitting bolt 
upright in bed, looking toward the window. 
Very bright moonlight was shining into the room 
and I could just see the corner of Loughrigg out 
in the distance. My first impression was of 
bright moonlight, but then I became strongly 
conscious of the moonlight striking on some- 
thing, and I saw perfectly clearly the figure of 
an old man sitting in the arm-chair by the win- 
dow. I said to myself, "That's Wordsworth!" 
He was sitting with either hand resting on the 
arms of the chair, leaning back, his head rather 
bent, and he seemed to be looking down straight 
in front of him with a rapt expression. He was 
not looking at me, nor out of the window. The 
moonlight lit up the top of his head and the 
silvery hair and I noticed that the hair was very 
thin. The whole impression was of something 
solemn and beautiful, and I was not in the very 
least frightened. As I looked I cannot say, 
when I looked again, for I have no recollection 
of ceasing to look, or looking away the figure 
disappeared and I became aware of the empty 
chair. I lay back again, and thought for a 
moment in a pleased and contented way, "That 
was Wordsworth." And almost immediately I 

must have fallen asleep again. I had not, to my 

111 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

knowledge, been dreaming about Wordsworth 
before I awoke; but I had been reading Hut- 
ton's essay on " Wordsworth's Two Styles" 
out of Knight's Wordsworthiana, before I fell 
asleep. 

I should add that I had a distinct impression 
of the high collar and stock, the same as in the 
picture on the stairs hi this house. 

Neither the seer of this striking vision 
unique in her experience nor I, to whom 
she told it within eight hours, make any 
claim for it to a supernatural origin. It 
seemed to us an interesting example of the 
influence of mind and association on the 
visualizing power of the brain. A member 
of the Psychical Society, to whom I sent the 
contemporary record, classified it as " a visual 
hallucination," and I don't know that there 
is anything more to be said about it. But 
the pathetic coincidence remains still to be 
noted we did not know it till afterward 
that the seer of the vision was sleeping in 
Dorothy Wordsworth's room, where Dorothy 
spent so many sad years of death-in-life; 
and that in that very corner by the window 
Wordsworth must have sat, day after day, 
when he came to visit what remained to him 
of that creature of fire and dew, that child 
of genius, who had been the inspiration and 

support of his poetic youth. 

112 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

In these rapid sketches of the surroundings 
and personal influences amid which my own 
childhood was passed I have already said 
something of my father's intimate friend 
Arthur Hugh Clough. Clough was, of course, 
a Rugbeian, and one of Arnold's ablest and 
most devoted pupils. He was about three 
years older than my father, and was already 
a Fellow of Oriel when Thomas Arnold, the 
younger, was reading for his First. But the 
difference of age made no difference to the 
friendship which grew up between them in 
Oxford, a friendship only less enduring and 
close than that between Clough and Matthew 
Arnold, which has been " eternized," to use 
a word of Fulke Greville's, by the noble 
dirge of "Thyrsis." Not many years before 
his own death, in 1895, my father wrote of 
the friend of his youth: 

I loved him, oh, so well: and also respected 
him more profoundly than any man, anywhere 
near my own age, whom I ever met. His pure 
soul was without stain: he seemed incapable of 
being inflamed by wrath, or tempted to vice, or 
enslaved by any unworthy passion of any sort. 
As to "Philip," something that he saw in me 
helped to suggest the character that was all. 
There is much in Philip that is Clough himself, 
and there is a dialectic force in him that cer- 
tainly was never in me. A great yearning for 

113 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

possessing one's soul in freedom for trampling 
on ceremony and palaver, for trying experiments 
in equality, being common to me and Philip, 
sent me out to New Zealand; and in the two 
years before I sailed (December, 1847) Clough 
and I were a great deal together. 

It was partly also the visit paid by my 
father and his friend, John Campbell Shairp, 
afterward Principal Shairp of St. Andrew's, 
to dough's reading party at Drumnadrochit 
in 1845, and their report of incidents which 
had happened to them on their way along 
the shores of Loch Ericht, which suggested 
the scheme of the "Bothie." One of the 
half-dozen short poems of Clough which have 
entered permanently into literature Qui 
laborat orat was found by my father one 
morning on the table of his bachelor rooms 
in Mount Street, after Clough had spent the 
night on a shake-up in his sitting-room, and 
on his early departure had left the poem 
behind him as payment for his night's lodging. 
In one of dough's letters to New Zealand 
I find, "Say not the struggle nought avail- 
eth" another of the half-dozen written 
out by him; and the original copy tibi 
primo confisum, of the pretty, though un- 
equal verses, " A London Idyll." The little 
volume of miscellaneous poems, called Am- 
barvalia, and the "Bothie of Tober-na-Vuo- 

114 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

lich" were sent out to New Zealand by 
Clough, at the same moment that Matt 
was sending his brother the Poems by A. 

Clough writes from Liverpool in Feb- 
ruary, 1849 having just received Matt's 
volume: 

At last our own Matt's book ! Read mine first, 
my child, if our volumes go forth together. 
Otherwise you won't read mine Ambarvalia, at 
any rate at all. Froude also has published a 
new book of religious biography, auto or other- 
wise (The Nemesis of Faith), and therewithal re- 
signs his Fellowship. But the Rector (of Exeter) 
talks of not accepting the resignation, but having 
an expulsion fire and fagot fashion. Quo usque? 

But when the books arrive, my father 
writes to his sister with affectionate welcome 
indeed of the Poems by A, but with enthu- 
siasm of the "Bothie." 

It greatly surpasses my expectations! It is on 
the whole a noble poem, well held together, clear, 
full of purpose, and full of promise. With joy 
I see the old fellow bestiring himself, "awakening 
like a strong man out of sleep and shaking his 
invincible locks"; and if he remains true and 
works, I think there is nothing too high or too 
great to be expected from him. 

"True," and a worker, Clough remained 
to the last hours of his short life. But in 

9 115 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

spite of a happy marriage, the burden and 
perplexity of philosophic thought, together 
with the strain of failing health, checked, 
before long, the strong poetic impulse shown 
in the "Bothie," its buoyant delight in 
natural beauty, and in the simplicities of 
human feeling and passion. The "music" 
of his "rustic flute" 

Kept not for long its happy, country tone; 

Lost it too soon, and learnt a stormy note 
Of men contention-tost, of men who groan. 

The poet of the "Bothie" becomes the 
poet of "Dipsychus," "Easter Day," and 
the "Amours de Voyage"; and the young 
republican who writes in triumph all hu- 
morous joy and animation to my father, 
from the Paris of 1848, which has just seen the 
overthrow of Louis Philippe, says, a year 
later February 24, 1849: 

To-day, my dear brother republican, is the 
glorious anniversary of '48, whereof what shall 
I now say? Put not your trust in republics, nor 
in any constitution of man! God be praised for 
the downfall of Louis Philippe. This with a 
faint feeble echo of that loud last year's scream of 
"A bas Guizot!" seems to be the sum total. 
Or are we to salute the rising sun, with "Vive 
VEmpereur!" and the green liveries? President 
for life I think they'll make him, and then begin 

116 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

to tire of him. Meanwhile the Great Powers 
are to restore the Pope and crush the renascent 
Roman Republic, of which Joseph Mazzini has 
just been declared a citizen! 

A few months later, the writer at Rome 
"was in at the death" of this same Roman 
Republic, listening to the French bombard- 
ment in bitterness of soul. 

I saw the French enter [he writes to my father]. 
Unto this has come our grand Lib. Eq. and Frat. 
revolution! And then I went to Naples and 
home. I am full of admiration for Mazzini. 
. . . But on the whole " Farewell Politics!" ut- 
terly! What can I do? Study is much more to 
the purpose. 

So in disillusion and disappointment, 
" Citizen Clough," leaving Oxford and poli- 
tics behind him, settled down to educational 
work in London, married, and became the 
happy father of children, wrote much that 
was remarkable, and will be long read 
whether it be poetry or no by those who 
find perennial attraction in the lesser-known 
ways of literature and thought, and at last 
closed his short life at Florence in 1862, 
at the age of forty-one, leaving an indelible 
memory in the hearts of those who had talked 
and lived with him. 

117 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

To a boon southern country he is fled, 
And now in happier air, 

Wandering with the Great Mother's train divine 
(And purer or more subtle soul than thee, 
I trow the mighty Mother doth not see) 

Within a folding of the Apennine, 

Thou hearest the immortal chants of old! 

But I remember him, in an English setting, 
and on the slopes of English hills. In the 
year 1858, as a child of seven, I was an 
inmate of a little school kept at Ambleside, 
by Miss Anne Clough, the poet's sister, after- 
ward the well-known head of Newnham 
College, Cambridge, and wisest leader in 
the cause of women. It was a small day- 
school for Ambleside children of all ranks, 
and I was one of two boarders, spending my 
Sundays often at Fox How. I can recall 
one or two golden days, at long intervals, 
when my father came for me, with "Mr. 
Clough," and the two old friends, who, after 
nine years' separation, had recently met 
again, walked up the Sweden Bridge lane 
into the heart of Scandale Fell, while I, pay- 
ing no more attention to them than they 
after a first ten minutes did to me, went 
wandering and skipping and dreaming by 
myself. In those days every rock along the 
mountain lane, every boggy patch, every 

118 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

stretch of silken, flower-sown grass, every 
bend of the wild stream, and all its sounds, 
whether it chattered gently over stony shal- 
lows or leaped full-throated into deep pools, 
swimming with foam were to me the never- 
ending joys of a "land of pure delight." 
Should I find a ripe wild strawberry in a 
patch under a particular rock I knew by 
heart? or the first Grass of Parnassus, or 
the big auricula, or streaming cotton-plant, 
amid a stretch of wet moss ahead? I might 
quite safely explore these enchanted spots 
under male eyes, since they took no account, 
mercifully, of a child's boots and stockings- 
male tongues, besides, being safely busy with 
books and politics. Was that a dipper, rising 
and falling along the stream, or positively 
a fat brown trout in hiding under that shady 
bank? or that a buzzard, hovering over- 
head. Such hopes and doubts kept a child's 
heart and eyes as quick and busy as the 
"beck" itself. It was a point of honor with 
me to get to Sweden Bridge a rough crossing 
for the shepherds and sheep, near the head of 
the valley before my companions; and I 
would sit dangling my feet over the unpro- 
tected edge of its grass-grown arch, bliss- 
fully conscious on a summer day of the warm 
stretches of golden fell folding in the stream, 
the sheep, the hovering hawks, the stony 

119 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

path that wound up and up to regions be- 
yond the ken of thought; and of myself, 
queening it there on the weather-worn key- 
stone of the bridge, dissolved in the mere 
physical joy of each contented sense the 
sun on my cotton dress, the scents from 
grass and moss, the marvelous rush of cloud- 
shadow along the hills, the brilliant browns 
and blues in the water, the little white 
stones on its tiny beaches, or the purples 
of the bigger rocks, whether in the stream 
or on the mountain-side. How did they 
come there those big rocks? I puzzled 
my head about them a good deal, especially 
as my father, in the walks we had to our- 
selves, would sometimes try and teach me a 
little geology. 

I have used the words " physical joy," be- 
cause, although such passionate pleasure in 
natural things as has been my constant 
Helper (in the sense of the Greek eVucou/jos) 
through life, has connected itself, no doubt, 
in process of time, with various intimate be- 
liefs, philosophic or religious, as to the Beauty 
which is Truth, and therewith the only con- 
ceivable key to man's experience, yet I 
could not myself indorse the famous contrast 
in Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey," between 
the " haunting passion" of youth's delight in 

Nature, and the more complex feeling of 

120 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

later years when Nature takes an aspect 
colored by our own moods and memories, 
when our sorrows and reflections enter so 
much into what we feel about the " bright 
and intricate device" of earth and her sea- 
sons, that "in our life alone doth Nature 
live." No one can answer for the changing 
moods that the future, long or short, may 
bring with it. But so far, I am inclined to 
think of this quick, intense pleasure in 
natural things, which I notice in myself and 
others, as something involuntary and inbred; 
independent often selfishly independent 
of the real human experience. I have been 
sometimes ashamed pricked even with self- 
contempt to remember how in the course 
of some tragic or sorrowful hours, concerning 
myself, or others of great account to me, I 
could not help observing some change in the 
clouds, some effect of color in the garden, 
some picture on the wall, which pleased me 
even for the moment intensely. The im- 
pression would be gone, perhaps, as soon as 
felt, rebuked by something like a flash of 
remorse. But it was not in my power to 
prevent its recurrence. And the delight in 
natural things colors, forms, scents when 
there was nothing to restrain or hamper it, 
has often been a kind of intoxication, in 

which thought and consciousness seemed 

121 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

suspended "as though of hemlock one had 
drunk." Wordsworth has of course expressed 
it constantly, though increasingly, as life 
went on, in combination with his pantheistic 
philosophy. But it is my belief that it sur- 
vived in him in its primitive form, almost to 
the end. 

The best and noblest people I have known 
have been, on the whole except in first 
youth without this correspondence between 
some constant pleasure-sense in the mind, 
and natural beauty. It cannot, therefore, be 
anything to be proud of. But it is certainly 
something to be glad of "amid the chances 
and changes of this mortal life"; it is one 
of the joys "in widest commonalty spread" 
and that may last longest. It is therefore 
surely to be encouraged both in oneself and 
in children; and that, although I have often 
felt that there is something inhuman, or in- 
frahuman, in it, as though the earth-gods in 
us all Pan, or Demeter laid ghostly hands 
again, for a space, upon the soul and sense 
that nobler or sadder faiths have ravished 
from them. 

In these Westmorland walks, however, my 
father had sometimes another companion a 
frequent visitor at Fox How, where he was 
almost another son to my grandmother, and 
an elder brother to her children. How shall 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

one ever make the later generation under- 
stand the charm of Arthur Stanley? There 
are many very many still living, in whom 
the sense of it leaps up, at the very mention 
of his name. But for those who never saw 
him, who are still in their twenties and 
thirties, what shall I say? That he was the 
son of a Bishop of Norwich and a member 
of the old Cheshire family of the Stanleys 
of Alderley; that he was a Rugby boy and 
a devoted pupil of Arnold, whose Life he 
wrote, so that it stands out among the 
biographies of the century, not only for its 
literary merit, but for its wide and varied 
influence on feeling and opinion ; that he was 
an Oxford tutor and Professor all through the 
great struggle of Liberal thought against the 
reactionary influences let loose by Newman 
and the Tractarian movement; that, as 
Regius Professor at Oxford, and Canon of 
Canterbury, if he added little to learning, or 
research, he at least kept alive by his power 
of turning all he knew into image and color 
that great "art" of history which the 
Dryasdusts so willingly let die*, that as Dean 
of Westminster, he was still the life and soul 
of all the Liberalism in the Church, still the 
same generous friend and champion of all 
the spiritually oppressed that he had ever 
been? None of the old " causes" beloved 

123 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of his youth could ever have said of him, as 
of so many others: 

Just for a handful of silver he left us, 
Just for a ribbon to stick in his coat 

He was, no doubt, the friend of kings and 
princes, and keenly conscious, always, of 
things long-descended, with picturesque or 
heroic associations. But it was he who in- 
vited Colenso to preach in the Abbey, after 
his excommunication by the fanatical and 
now forgotten Bishop of Cape Town; it was 
he who brought about that famous Com- 
munion of the Revisers in the Abbey, where 
the Unitarian received the Sacrament of 
Christ's death beside the Wesleyan and the 
Anglican, and who bore with unflinching 
courage the idle tumult which followed; it 
was he, too, who first took special pains to 
open the historical Abbey to working-men, 
and to give them an insight into the meaning 
of its treasures. He was not a social reformer 
in the modern sense; that was not his busi- 
ness. But his unfailing power of seeing and 
pouncing upon the interesting the dramatic 
in any human lot, soon brought him into 
relation with men of callings and types the 
most different from his own; and for the rest 
he fulfilled to perfection that hard duty 
"the duty to our equals" on which Mr. 

124 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

Jowett once preached a caustic and sugges- 
tive sermon. But for him John Richard 
Green would have abandoned history, and 
student after student, heretic after heretic, 
found in him the man who eagerly under- 
stood them and chivalrously fought for them. 
And then, what a joy he was to the eye! 
His small spare figure, miracuously light, his 
delicate face of tinted ivory only that ivory 
is not sensitive and subtle, and incredibly 
expressive, as were the features of the little 
Dean; the eager, thin-lipped mouth, varying 
with every shade of feeling in the innocent 
great soul behind it; the clear eyes of china 
blue; the glistening white hair, still with 
the wave and spring of youth 'in it; the 
slender legs, and Dean's dress, which be- 
comes all but the portly, with, on festal oc- 
casions, the red ribbon of the Bath crossing 
the mercurial frame: there are still a few 
pictures and photographs by which these 
characteristics are dimly recalled to those at 
least who knew the living man. To my 
father, who called him " Arthur," and to all 
the Fox How circle, he was the most faithful 
of friends, though no doubt my father's con- 
version to Catholicism to some extent, in 
later years, separated him from Stanley. In 
the letter I have printed on a former page, 
written on the night before my father left 

125 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

England for New Zealand in 1847, and cher- 
ished by its recipient all his life, there is a 
yearning, personal note, which was, per- 
haps, sometimes lacking in the much-sur- 
rounded, much-courted Dean of later life. 
It was not that Arthur Stanley, any more 
than Matthew Arnold, ever became a world- 
ling in the ordinary sense. But "the world" 
asks too much of such men as Stanley. It 
heaps all its honors and all its tasks upon 
them, and without some slight stiffening of 
its substance the exquisite instrument can- 
not meet the strain. 

Mr. Hughes always strongly denied that 
the George Arthur of Tom Brown's Schooldays 
had anything whatever to do with Arthur 
Stanley. But I should like to believe that 
some anecdote of Stanley's schooldays had 
entered at least into the well-known scene 
where Arthur, in class, breaks down in con- 
struing the last address of Helen to the dead 
Hector. Stanley's memory, indeed, was alive 
with the great things or the picturesque de- 
tail of literature and history, no less than 
with the humorous or striking things of con- 
temporary life. I remember an amusing in- 
stance of it at my own wedding breakfast. 
Stanley married us, and a few days before 
he had buried Frederick Denison Maurice. 
His historical sense was pleased by the 

126 



THE FRIENDS OF FOX HOW 

juxtaposition of the two names Maurice and 
Arnold, suggested by the funeral of Maurice 
and the marriage of Arnold's granddaughter. 
The consequence was that his speech at the 
wedding breakfast was quite as much con- 
cerned with " graves and worms and epi- 
taphs" as with things hymeneal. But from 
"the little Dean" all things were welcome. 
My personal memory of him goes back to 
much earlier days. As a child at Fox How, 
he roused in me a mingled fascination and 
terror. To listen to him quoting Shakspeare 
or Scott or Macaulay was fascination; to 
find his eye fixed on one, and his slender 
finger darting toward one, as he asked a 
sudden historical question " Where did Ed- 
ward the First die?" "Where was the 
Black Prince buried?" was terror, lest, at 
seven years old, one should not be able to 
play up. I remember a particular visit of his 
to Fox How, when the dates and places of 
these royal deaths and burials kept us my- 
self in particular in a perpetual ferment. 
It must, I think, have been when he was still 
at Canterbury, investigating, almost with the 
zest and passion of the explorer of Troy or 
Mycenae, what bones lie hid, and where, 
under the Cathedral floor, what sands 
"fallen from the ruined sides of Kings" 
that this passion of deaths and dates was 

127 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

upon him. I can see myself as a child of 
seven or eight, standing outside the drawing- 
room door at Fox How, bracing myself in a 
mixture of delight and fear, as to what "Doc- 
tor Stanley" might ask me when the door 
was opened; then the opening, and the sud- 
den sharp turn of the slight figure, writing 
letters at the middle table, at the sight of 
" little Mary" and the expected thunder- 
bolt: 

" Where did Henry the Fourth die?" 

Confusion and blank ignorance! 

But memory leaps forward to a day four 
or five years later, when my father and I 
invaded the dark high room in the old 
Deanery, and the little Dean standing at his 
reading-desk. He looks round sees " Tom," 
and the child with him. His charming face 
breaks into a broad smile; he remembers in- 
stantly, though it is some years since he and 
"little Mary" met. He holds out both his 
hands to the little girl 

"Come and see the place where Henry the 
Fourth died!" 

And off we ran together to the Jerusalem 
Chamber. 



CHAPTER VI 

YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 



LJOW little those who are school-girls of 
* * to-day can realize what it was to be a 
school-girl in the fifties or the early sixties of 
the last century! A modern girls' school, 
equipped as scores are now equipped through- 
out the country, was of course not to be found 
in 1858, when I first became a school boarder, 
or in 1867, when I ceased to be one. The 
games, the gymnastics, the solid grounding 
in drawing and music, together with the 
enormously improved teaching in elementary 
science, or literature and language, which 
are at the service of the school-girl of to-day, 
had not begun to be when I was at school. 
As far as intellectual training was concerned, 
my nine years from seven to sixteen were 
practically wasted. I learned nothing thor- 
oughly or accurately, and the German, 
French, and Latin which I soon discovered 
after my marriage to be essential to the kind 
of literary work I wanted to do, had all to 
be relearned before they could be of any real 
use to me; nor was it ever possible for me 

129 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

who married at twenty to get that firm 
hold on the structure and literary history of 
any language, ancient or modern, which my 
brother William, only fifteen months my 
junior, got from his six years at Rugby, and 
his training there in Latin and Greek. 
What I learned during those years was 
learned from personalities; from contact 
with a nature so simple, sincere, and strong 
as that of Miss Clough; from the kindly old 
German governess, whose affection for me 
helped me through some rather hard and 
lonely school -years spent at a school in 
Shropshire; and from a gentle and high- 
minded woman, an ardent Evangelical, with 
whom, a little later, at the age of fourteen or 
fifteen, I fell headlong in love, as was the man- 
ner of school-girls then, and is, I understand, 
frequently the case with school-girls now, in 
spite of the greatly increased variety of sub- 
jects on which they may spend their minds. 
English girls' schools to-day providing the 
higher education are, so far as my knowledge 
goes, worthily representative of that aston- 
ishing rise in the intellectual standards of 
women which has taken place in the last half- 
century. They are almost entirely taught 
by women, and women with whom, in many 
cases, education the shaping of the imma- 
ture human creature to noble ends is the 

130 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

sincerest of passions; who find, indeed, in 
the task that same creative joy which belongs 
to literature or art, or philanthropic experi- 
ment. The schoolmistress to whom money 
is the sole or even the chief motive of her 
work, is, in my experience, rare to-day, 
though we have all in our time heard tales of 
modern "academies" of the Miss Pinkerton 
type, brought up to date fashionable, ex- 
clusive, and luxurious where, as in some 
boys' preparatory schools (before the war!) 
the more the parents paid, the better they 
were pleased. But I have not come across 
them. The leading boarding-schools in Eng- 
land and America, at present, no less than 
the excellent day-schools for girls of the 
middle class, with which this country has 
been covered since 1870, are genuine products 
of that Women's Movement, as we vaguely 
call it, in the early educational phases of 
which I myself was much engaged; whereof 
the results are now widely apparent, though 
as yet only half -grown. If one tracks it back 
to somewhere near its origins, its superficial 
orgins, at any rate, one is brought up, I 
think, as in the case of so much else, against 
one leading cause railways! With railways 
and a cheap press, in the second third of the 
nineteenth century, there came in, as we all 
know, the break-up of a thousand mental 

10 131 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

stagnations, answering to the old physical 
disabilities and inconveniences. And the 
break-up has nowhere had more startling 
results than in the world of women, and the 
training of women for life. We have only 
to ask ourselves what the women of Ben- 
jamin Constant, or of Beyle, or Balzac, 
would have made of the keen school-girl and 
college girl of the present day, to feel how 
vast is the change through which some of us 
have lived. Exceptional women, of course, 
have led much the same kind of lives in all 
generations. Mrs. Sidney Webb has gone 
through a very different sort of self-educa- 
tion from that of Harriet Martineau; but 
she has not thought more widely, and she 
will hardly influence her world so much 
as that stanch fighter of the past. It is 
the rank and file the average woman for 
whom the world has opened up so astonish- 
ingly. The revelation of her wide-spread and 
various capacity that the present war has 
brought about is only the suddenly con- 
spicuous result of the liberating forces set 
in action by the scientific and mechanical 
development of the nineteenth century. It 
rests still with that world "after the war," 
to which we are all looking forward with 
mingled hope and fear, to determine the new 
forms, sociological and political, through 

132 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

which this capacity, this heightened faculty, 
must some day organically express itself. 

In the years when I was at school, however 
1858 to 1867 these good days were only 
beginning to dawn. Poor teaching, poor 
school-books, and, in many cases, indifferent 
food and much ignorance as to the physical 
care of girls these things were common in 
my school-time. I loved nearly all my 
teachers; but it was not till I went home to 
live at Oxford, in 1867, that I awoke intel- 
lectually to a hundred interests and influences 
that begin much earlier nowadays to affect 
any clever child. I had few tools and little 
grounding; and I was much more childish 
than I need have been. A few vivid impres- 
sions stand out from these years: the great 
and to me mysterious figure of Newman 
haunting the streets of Edgbaston, where, in 
1861, my father became head classical master 
of the Oratory School; the news of the mur- 
der of Lincoln, coming suddenly into a quiet 
garden in a suburb of Birmingham, and an 
ineffaceable memory of the pale faces and 
horror-stricken looks of those discussing it; 
the haunting beauty of certain passages 
of Ruskin which I copied out and carried 
about with me, without in the least caring 
to read as a whole the books from which they 
came; my first visit to the House of Com- 

133 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

mons in 1863; the recurrent visits to Fox 
How, and the winter and summer beauty of 
the fells; together with an endless story- 
telling phase in which I told stories to my 
school-fellows, on condition they told stories 
to me; coupled with many attempts on my 
part at poetry and fiction, which make me 
laugh and blush when I compare them to-day 
with similar efforts of my own grandchildren. 
But on the whole they were starved and 
rather unhappy years; through no one's 
fault. My parents were very poor and per- 
petually in movement. Everybody did the 
best he could. 

With Oxford, however, and my seven- 
teenth year, came a radical change. 

It was in July, 1865, while I was still a 
school-girl, that in the very middle of the 
Long Vacation I first saw Oxford. My 
father, after some five years as Doctor New- 
man's colleague at the Oratory School, had 
then become the subject of a strong tem- 
porary reaction against Catholicism. He 
left the Roman Church in 1865, to return 
to it again, for good, eleven years later. 
During the interval he took pupils at Oxford, 
produced a very successful Manual of English 
Literature, edited the works of Wycliffe for 
the Clarendon Press, made himself an Anglo- 

134 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

Saxon scholar, and became one of the most 
learned editors of the great Rolls Series. 
To look at the endless piles of his note-books 
is to realize how hard, how incessantly he 
worked. Historical scholarship was his des- 
tined field; he found his happiness in it 
through all the troubles of life. And the 
return to Oxford, to its memories, its libraries, 
its stately, imperishable beauty, was delight- 
ful to him. So also, I think, for some years, 
was the sense of intellectual freedom. Then 
began a kind of nostalgia, which grew and 
grew till it took him back to the Catholic 
haven in 1876, never to wander more. 

But when he first showed me Oxford he 
was in the ardor of what seemed a permanent 
severance from an admitted mistake. I see 
a deserted Oxford street, and a hansom 
coming up it myself and my father inside it. 
I was returning from school, for the holidays. 
When I had last seen my people, they were 
living near Birmingham. I now found them 
at Oxford, and I remember the thrill of ex- 
citement with which I looked from side to 
side as we neared the colleges. For I knew 
well, even at fourteen, that this was "no 
mean city." As we drove up Beaumont 
Street we saw what was then "new Balliol" 
in front of us, and a jutting window. "There 
lives the arch-heretic!" said my father. It 

135 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

was a window in Mr. Jowett's rooms. He 
was not yet Master of the famous College, 
but his name was a rallying-cry, and his per- 
sonal influence almost at its zenith. At the 
same time, he was then rigorously excluded 
from the University pulpit; it was not till 
a year later that even his close friend Dean 
Stanley ventured to ask him to preach in 
Westminster Abbey; and his salary as 
Greek Professor, due to him from the 
revenues of Christ Church, and withheld 
from him on theological grounds for years, 
had only just been wrung at last from the 
reluctant hands of a governing body which 
contained Canon Liddon and Doctor Pusey. 

To my father, on his settlement in Oxford, 
Jowett had been a kind and helpful friend; 
he had a very quick sympathy with my 
mother; and as I grew up he became my 
friend, too, so that as I look back upon my 
Oxford years both before and after my mar- 
riage, the dear Master he became Master in 
1870 plays a very marked part in the Ox- 
ford scene as I shall ever remember it. 

It was not, however, till two years later 
that I left school, and slipped into the Oxford 
life as a fish into water. I was sixteen, be- 
ginning to be conscious of all sorts of rising 
needs and ambitions, keenly alive to the 
spell of Oxford and to the good fortune which 

136 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

had brought me to live in her streets. There 
was in me, I think, a real hunger to learn, 
and a very quick sense of romance in things 
or people. But after sixteen, except in music, 
I had no definite teaching, and everything I 
learned came to me from persons and books 
sporadically, without any general guidance 
or plan. It was all a great voyage of dis- 
covery, organized mainly by myself, on the 
advice of a few men and women very much 
older, who took an interest in me and were 
endlessly kind to the shy and shapeless 
creature I must have been. 

It was in 1868 or 18691 think I was 
seventeen that I remember my first sight 
of a college garden lying cool and shaded 
between gray college walls, and on the grass 
a figure that held me fascinated a lady in a 
green brocade dress, with a belt and chate- 
laine of Russian silver, who was playing 
croquet, then a novelty in Oxford, and 
seemed to me, as I watched her, a perfect 
model of grace and vivacity. A man nearly 
thirty years older than herself, whom I knew 
to be her husband, was standing near her, 
and a handful of undergraduates made an 
amused and admiring court round the lady. 
The elderly man he was then fifty-three 
was Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln Col- 
lege, and the croquet-player had been his 

137 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

wife about seven years. After the Rector's 
death in 1884, Mrs. Pattison married Sir 
Charles Dilke in the very midst of the 
divorce proceedings which were to wreck in 
full stream a brilliant political career; and 
she showed him a proud devotion till her 
death in 1904. None of her early friends 
who remember her later history can ever 
think of the " Frances Pattison" of Oxford 
days without a strange stirring of heart. I 
was much at Lincoln in the years before I 
married, and derived an impression from the 
life lived there that has never left me. After- 
ward I saw much less of Mrs. Pattison, who 
was generally on the Riviera in the winter; 
but from 1868 to 1872, the Rector, learned, 
critical, bitter, fastidious, and "Mrs. Pat," 
with her gaiety, her picturesqueness, her 
impatience of the Oxford solemnities and 
decorums, her sharp, restless wit, her deter- 
mination not to be academic, to hold on to 
the'greater world of affairs outside mattered 
more to me perhaps than anybody else. 
They were very good to me, and I was never 
tired of going there; though I was much 
puzzled by their ways, and while my Evan- 
gelical phase lasted much scandalized often 
by the speculative freedom of the talk I 
heard. Sometimes my rather uneasy con- 
science protested in ways which I think must 

138 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

have amused my hosts, though they never 
said a word. They were fond of asking me 
to come to supper at Lincoln on Sundays. 
It was a gay, unceremonious meal, at which 
Mrs. Pattison appeared in the kind of gown 
which at a much later date began to be called 
a tea-gown. It was generally white or gray, 
with various ornaments and accessories which 
always seemed to me, accustomed for so long 
to the rough-and-tumble of school life, mar- 
vels of delicacy and prettiness; so that I was 
sharply conscious, on these occasions, of the 
graceful figure made by the young mistress 
of the old house. But some last stubborn 
trace in me of the Evangelical view of Sunday 
declared that while one might talk and one 
must eat! on Sunday, one mustn't put on 
evening dress, or behave as though it were 
just like a week-day. So while every one 
else was in evening dress, I more than once 
at seventeen came to these Sunday gather- 
ings on a winter evening, purposely, in a 
high woolen frock, sternly but uncomfortably 
conscious of being sublime if only one were 
not ridiculous! The Rector, "Mrs. Pat," 
Mr. Bywater, myself, and perhaps a couple 
of undergraduates often a bewildered and 
silent couple I see that little vanished com- 
pany in the far past so plainly! Three of 
them are dead and for me the gray walls 

139 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of Lincoln must always be haunted by their 
ghosts. 

The historian of French painting and 
French decorative art was already in those 
days unfolding in Mrs. Pattison. Her draw- 
ing-room was French, sparely furnished with 
a few old girandoles and mirrors on its white 
paneled walls, and a Persian carpet with a 
black center, on which both the French 
furniture and the living inmates of the room 
looked their best. And up-stairs, in "Mrs. 
Pat's" own working-room, there were in- 
numerable things that stirred my curiosity 
old French drawings and engravings, masses 
of foreign books that showed the young and 
brilliant owner of the room to be already a 
scholar, even as her husband counted scholar- 
ship; together with the tools and materials 
for etching, a mysterious process in which 
I was occasionally allowed to lend a hand, 
and which, as often as not, during the appli- 
cation of the acid to the plate, ended in dire 
misfortune to the etcher's fingers or dress, 
and in the helpless laughter of both artist 
and assistant. 

The Rector himself was an endless study to 
me he and his frequent companion, In- 
gram Bywater, afterward the distinguished 
Greek Professor. To listen to these two 
friends as they talked of foreign scholars in 

140 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

Paris or Germany, of Renan, or Ranke, or 
Curtius; as they poured scorn on Oxford 
scholarship, or the lack of it, and on the ideals 
of Balliol, which aimed at turning out public 
officials, as compared with the researching 
ideals of the German universities, which 
seemed to the Rector the only ideals worth 
calling academic; or as they flung gibes at 
Christ Church, whence Pusey and Liddon still 
directed the powerful Church party of the 
University was to watch the doors of new 
worlds gradually opening before a girl's 
questioning intelligence. The Rector would 
walk up and down, occasionally taking a 
book from his crowded shelves, while Mr. 
Bywater and Mrs. Pattison smoked, with the 
after-luncheon coffee and in those days a 
woman with a cigarette was a rarity in 
England and sometimes, at a caustic mot 
of the former's there would break out the 
Rector's cackling laugh, which was ugly, no 
doubt, but, when he was amused and at ease, 
extraordinarily full of mirth. To me he was 
from the beginning the kindest friend. He 
saw that I came of a literary stock and had 
literary ambitions; and he tried to direct me. 
"Get to the bottom of something, " he would 
say. "Choose a subject, and know every- 
thing about it!" I eagerly followed his ad- 
vice, and began to work at early Spanish 

141 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

in the Bodleian. But I think he was wrong 
I venture to think so! though, as his half- 
melancholy, half-satirical look comes back 
to me, I realize how easily he would defend 
himself, if one could tell him so now. I 
think I ought to have been told to take a 
history examination and learn Latin properly. 
But if I had, half the exploring joy of those 
early years would, no doubt, have been cut 
away. 

Later on, in the winters when Mrs. Patti- 
son, threatened with rheumatic gout, disap- 
peared to the Riviera, I came to know a 
sadder and lonelier Rector. I used to go to 
tea with him then in his own book-lined 
sanctum, and we mended the blazing fire 
between us and talked endlessly. Presently 
I married, and his interest in me changed; 
though our friendship never lessened, and I 
shall always remember with emotion my 
last sight of him lying, a white and dying man, 
on his sofa in London the clasp of the 
wasted hand, the sad, haunting eyes. When 
his Memoirs appeared, after his death, a book 
of which Mr. Gladstone once said to me that 
he reckoned it as among the most tragic and 
the most memorable books of the nineteenth 
century, I understood him more clearly and 
more tenderly than I could have done as a 
girl. Particularly, I understood why in that 

142 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

skeptical and agnostic talk which never 
spared the Anglican ecclesiastics of the mo- 
ment, or such a later Catholic convert as 
Manning, I cannot remember that I ever 
heard him mention the great name of John 
Henry Newman with the slightest touch of 
disrespect. On the other hand, I once saw 
him receive a message that some friend 
brought him from Newman with an eager 
look and a start of pleasure. He had been 
a follower of Newman's in the Tractarian 
days, and no one who ever came near to 
Newman could afterward lightly speak ill 
of him. It was Stanley, and not the Rector, 
indeed, who said of the famous Oratorian 
that the whole course of English religious 
history might have been different if Newman 
had known German. But Pattison might 
have said it, and if he had it would have 
been without the smallest bitterness as the 
mere expression of a sober and indisputable 
truth. Alas ! merely to quote it, nowadays, 
carries one back to a Germany before the 
Flood a Germany of small States, a land of 
scholars and thinkers; a Germany that would 
surely have recoiled in horror from any 
prevision of that deep and hideous abyss 
which her descendants, maddened by wealth 
and success, were one day to dig between 
themselves and the rest of Europe. 

143 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

One of my clearest memories connected 
with the Pattisons and Lincoln is that of 
meeting George Eliot and Mr. Lewes there, 
in the spring of 1870, when I was eighteen. 
It was at one of the Sunday suppers. George 
Eliot sat at the Rector's right hand. I was 
opposite her; on my left was George Henry 
Lewes, to whom I took a prompt and active 
dislike. He and Mrs. Pattison kept up a 
lively conversation in which Mr. Bywater, 
on the other side of the table, played full 
part. George Eliot talked very little, and I 
not at all. The Rector was shy or tired, and 
George Eliot was in truth entirely occupied 
in watching or listening to Mrs. Lewes. I 
was disappointed that she was so silent, and 
perhaps her quick eye may have divined it, 
for, after supper, as we were going up the 
interesting old staircase, made in the thick- 
ness of the wall, which led direct from the 
dining-room to the drawing-room above, she 
said to me: "The Rector tells me that you 
have been reading a good deal about Spain. 
Would you care to hear something of our 
Spanish journey?" the journey which had 
preceded the appearance of The Spanish 
Gypsy, then newly published. My reply is 
easily imagined. The rest of the party 
passed through the dimly lit drawing-room 
to -talk and smoke in the gallery beyond. 

144 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

George Eliot sat down in the darkness, and 
I beside her. Then she talked for about 
twenty minutes, with perfect ease and finish, 
without misplacing a word or dropping a 
sentence, and I realized at last that I was in 
the presence of a great writer. Not a great 
talker. It is clear that George Eliot never 
was that. Impossible for her to "talk" her 
books, or evolve her books from conversation, 
like Madame de Stael. She was too self- 
conscious, too desperately reflective, too rich 
in second-thoughts for that. But in tete-a- 
tete, and with time to choose her words, she 
could in monologue, with just enough stim- 
ulus from a companion to keep it going 
produce on a listener exactly the impression 
of some of her best work. As the low, clear 
voice flowed on in Mrs. Pattison's drawing- 
room, I saw Saragossa, Granada, the Escorial, 
and that survival of the old Europe in the 
new, which one must go to Spain to find. 
Not that the description was particularly 
vivid in talking of famous places John 
Richard Green could make words tell and 
paint with far greater success; but it 
was singularly complete and accomplished. 
When it was done the effect was there the 
effect she had meant to produce. I shut 
my eyes, and it all comes back the dark- 
ened room, the long, pallid face, set in black 

145 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

lace, the evident wish to be kind to a young 
girl. 

Two more impressions of her let me record. 
The following day, the Pattisons took their 
guests to see the "eights" races from Christ 
Church meadow. A young Fellow of Mer- 
ton, Mandell Creighton, afterward the be- 
loved and famous Bishop of London, was 
among those entertaining her on the barge, 
and on the way home he took her and Mr. 
Lewes through Merton garden. I was of the 
party, and I remember what a carnival of 
early summer it was in that enchanting place. 
The chestnuts were all out, one splendor 
from top to toe; the laburnums; the lilacs; 
the hawthorns, red and white; the new- 
mown grass spreading its smooth and silky 
carpet round the college walls; a May sky 
overhead, and through the trees glimpses of 
towers and spires, silver gray, in the sparkling 
summer air the picture was one of those 
that Oxford throws before the spectator at 
every turn, like the careless beauty that 
knows she has only to show herself, to move, 
to breathe, to give delight. George Eliot 
stood on the grass, in the bright sun, looking 
at the flower-laden chestnuts, at the distant 
glimpses on all sides, of the surrounding city, 
saying little that she left to Mr. Lewes! 
but drinking it in, storing it in that rich, 

146 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

absorbent mind of hers. And afterward 
when Mr. Lewes, Mr. Creighton, she, and I 
walked back to Lincoln, I remember another 
little incident throwing light on the ever- 
ready instinct of the novelist. As we turned 
into the quadrangle of Lincoln suddenly, at 
one of the upper windows of the Rector's 
lodgings, which occupied the far right-hand 
corner of the quad, there appeared the head 
and shoulders of Mrs. Pattison, as she 
looked out and beckoned, smiling, to Mrs. 
Lewes. It was a brilliant apparition, as 
though a French portrait by Greuze or 
Perronneau had suddenly slipped into a 
vacant space in the old college wall. The 
pale, pretty head, blond-cendree; the delicate, 
smiling features and white throat; a touch 
of black, a touch of blue; a white dress; a 
general eighteenth-century impression as 
though of powder and patches Mrs. Lewes 
perceived it in a flash, and I saw her run 
eagerly to Mr. Lewes and draw his attention 
to the window and its occupant. She took 
his arm, while she looked and waved. If she 
had lived longer, some day, and somewhere 
in her books, that vision at the window and 
that flower-laden garden would have re- 
appeared. I seemed to see her consciously 
and deliberately committing them both to 
memory. 

11 147 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

But I do not believe that she ever meant 
to describe the Rector in "Mr. Casaubon." 
She was far too good a scholar herself to 
have perpetrated a caricature so flagrantly 
untrue. She knew Mark Pattison's quality, 
and could never have meant to draw the 
writer of some of the most fruitful and illu- 
minating of English essays, and one of the 
most brilliant pieces of European biography, 
in the dreary and foolish pedant who over- 
shadows Middlemarch. But the fact that 
Mark Pattison was an elderly scholar with a 
young wife, and that George Eliot knew him, 
led later on to a legend which was, I am sure, 
unwelcome to the writer of Middlemarch, 
while her supposed victim passed it by with 
amused indifference. 

As to the relation between the Rector and 
the Squire of Robert Elsmere which has been 
often assumed, it was confined, as I have 
already said (in the introduction to the 
library edition of Robert Elsmere published 
in 1909), to a likeness in outward aspect "a 
few personal traits, and the two main facts 
of great learning and a general impatience of 
fools." If one could imagine Mark Pattison 
a landowner, he would certainly never have 
neglected his estates, or tolerated an ineffi- 
cient agent. 

Only three years intervened between my 

148 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

leaving school and my engagement to Mr. 
T. Humphry Ward, Fellow and Tutor of 
Brasenose College, Oxford. But those three 
years seem to me now to have been extraor- 
dinarily full. Lincoln and the Pattisons, 
Balliol and Mr. Jowett, and the Bodleian 
Library, outside the influences and affections 
of my own home, stand in the forefront of 
what memory looks back on as a broad and 
animated scene. The great Library, in par- 
ticular, became to me a living and inspiring 
presence. When I think of it as it then 
was, I am, aware of a medley of beautiful 
things pale sunlight on book-lined walls, or 
streaming through old armorial bearings on 
Tudor windows; spaces and distances, all 
books, beneath a painted roof from which 
gleamed the motto of the University 
Dominus illuminatio mea; gowned figures 
moving silently about the spaces; the faint 
scents of old leather and polished wood; 
and fusing it all, a stately dignity and be- 
nignant charm, through which the voices of 
the bells outside, as they struck each succes- 
sive quarter from Oxford's many towers, 
seemed to breathe a certain eternal reminder 
of the past and the dead. 

But regions of the Bodleian were open to 
me then that no ordinary reader sees now. 
Mr. Coxe the well-known, much-loved 

149 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Bodley's Librarian of those days took 
kindly notice of the girl reader, and very 
soon, probably on the recommendation of 
Mark Pattison, who was a Curator, made me 
free of the lower floors, where was the 
"Spanish room," with its shelves of seven- 
teenth and eighteenth century volumes in 
sheepskin or vellum, with their turned-in 
edges and leathern strings. Here I might 
wander at will, absolutely alone, save for the 
visit of an occasional librarian from the 
upper floor, seeking a book. To get to the 
Spanish Room one had to pass through the 
Douce Library, the home of treasures beyond 
price; on one side half the precious things of 
Renaissance printing, French or Italian or 
Elizabethan; on the other, stands of il- 
luminated Missals and Hour Books, many of 
them rich in pictures and flower-work, that 
shone like jewels in the golden light of the 
room. That light was to me something 
tangible and friendly. It seemed to be the 
mingled product of all the delicate browns 
and yellows and golds in the bindings of the 
books, of the brass lattice-work that cov- 
ered them, and of reflections from the beau- 
tiful stone-work of the Schools Quadrangle 
outside. It was in these noble surroundings 
that, with far too little, I fear, of positive 
reading, and with much undisciplined wan- 

150 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

dering from shelf to shelf and subject to 
subject, there yet sank deep into me the 
sense of history, and of that vast ocean of 
the recorded past from which the generations 
rise and into which they fall back. And 
that in itself was a great boon almost, one 
might say, a training, of a kind. 

But a girl of seventeen is not always think- 
ing of books, especially in the Oxford sum- 
mer term. 

In Miss Bretherton, my earliest novel, and 
in Lady Connie, so far my latest, 1 will be 
found, by those who care to look for it, the 
reflection of that other life of Oxford, the 
life which takes its shape, not from age, but 
from youth, not from the past which created 
Oxford, but from the lively, laughing present 
which every day renews it. For six months 
of the year Oxford is a city of young men, 
for the most part between the ages of 
eighteen and twenty-two. In my maiden 
days it was not also a city of young women, 
as it is to-day. Women girls especially 
were comparatively on sufferance. The 
Heads of Houses were married; the Pro- 
fessors were mostly married; but married 
tutors had scarcely begun to be. Only at 
two seasons of the year was Oxford invaded 

1 These chapters were written before the appearance of 
Missing in the autumn of 1917. 

151 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

by women by bevies of maidens who came, 
in early May and middle June, to be made 
much of by their brothers and their brothers' 
friends, to be danced with and flirted with, 
to know the joys of coming back on a sum- 
mer night from Nuneham up the long, 
fragrant reaches of the lower river, or of 
" sitting out" in historic gardens where 
Philip Sidney or Charles I had passed. 

At the " eights " and " Commem." the old, 
old place became a mere background for 
pretty dresses and college luncheons and 
river picnics. The seniors groaned often, as 
well they might; for there was little work 
done in my day in the summer term. But 
it is perhaps worth while for any nation to 
possess such harmless festivals in so beau- 
tiful a setting as these Oxford gatherings. 
How many of our national festivals are 
spoiled by ugly and sordid things betting 
and drink, greed and display ! Here, all there 
is to see is a competition of boats, manned 
by England's best youth, upon a noble river, 
flowing, in Virgilian phrase, "under ancient 
walls"; a city of romance, given up for a 
few days to the pleasure of the young, and 
breathing into that pleasure her own re- 
fining, exalting note; a stately ceremony 
the Encaenia going back to the infancy 
of English learning; and the dancing of 

152 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

young men and maidens in Gothic or classical 
halls built long ago by the " fathers who 
begat us." My own recollection of the 
Oxford summer, the Oxford river and hay- 
fields, the dawn on Oxford streets, as one 
came out from a Commemoration ball, or 
the evening under Nuneham woods where 
the swans on that still water, now, as always, 
" float double, swan and shadow" these 
things I hope will be with me to the end. 
To have lived through them is to have tasted 
youth and pleasure from a cup as pure, as 
little alloyed with baser things, as the high 
gods allow to mortals. 

Let me recall one more experience before I 
come to the married life which began in 
1872 my first sight of Taine, the great 
French historian, in the spring of 1871. 
He had come over at the invitation of the 
Curators of the Taylorian Institution to 
give a series of lectures on Corneille and 
Racine. The lectures were arranged imme- 
diately after the surrender of Paris to the 
German troops, when it might have been 
hoped that the worst calamities of France 
were over. But before M. Taine crossed to 
England the insurrection of the Commune 
had broken out, and while he was actually in 
Oxford, delivering his six lectures, the terrible 
news of the last days of May, the burning 

153 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

of the Tuileries, the Hotel de Ville, and the 
Cour des Comptes, all the savagery of the 
beaten revolution, let loose on Paris itself, 
came crashing, day by day and hour by hour, 
like so many horrible explosions in the heavy 
air of Europe, still tremulous with the mem- 
ories and agonies of recent war. 

How well I remember the effect in Oxford ! 
the newspaper cries in the streets, the fear 
each morning as to what new calamities might 
have fallen on civilization, the intense fellow- 
feeling in a community of students and schol- 
ars for the students and scholars of France ! 

When M. Taine arrived, he himself bears 
witness (see his published Correspondence, 
Vol. II) that Oxford could not do enough to 
show her sympathy with a distinguished 
Frenchman. He writes from Oxford on 
May 25th: 

I have no courage for a letter to-day. I have 
just heard of the horrors of Paris, the burning of 
the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Hotel de Ville, etc. 
My heart is wrung. I have energy for nothing. 
I cannot go out and see people. I was in the 
Bodleian when the Librarian told me this and 
showed me the newspapers. In presence of such 
madness and such disasters, they treat a French- 
man here with a kind of pitying sympathy. 

Oxford residents, indeed, inside and out- 
side the colleges, crowded the first lecture to 

154 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

show our feeling not only for M. Taine, but 
for a France wounded and trampled on by 
her own children. The few dignified and 
touching words with which he opened his 
course, his fine, dark head, the attractiveness 
of his subject, the lucidity of his handling of 
it, made the lecture a great success; and a 
few nights afterward at dinner at Balliol I 
found myself sitting next the great man. In 
his published Correspondence there is a letter 
describing this dinner which shows that I 
must have confided in him not a little as 
to my Bodleian reading, and the article on the 
' ' Poema del Cid ' ' that I was writing. He con- 
fesses, however, that he did his best to draw 
me examining the English girl as a new 
specimen for his psychological collection. 
As for me, I can only perversely remember a 
passing phrase of his to the effect that there 
was too much magenta in the dress of Eng- 
lishwomen, and too much pepper in the 
English cuisine. From English cooking 
which showed ill in the Oxford of those days 
he suffered, indeed, a good deal. Nor, in 
spite of his great literary knowledge of Eng- 
land and English, was his spoken English 
clear enough to enable him to grapple with 
the lodging-house cook. Professor Max Mul- 
ler, who had induced him to give the lect- 
ures, and watched over him during his stay, 

155 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

told me that on his first visit to the his- 
torian in his Beaumont Street rooms he 
found him sitting bewildered before the 
strangest of meals. It consisted entirely of 
a huge beefsteak, served in the unappetizing, 
slovenly English way, and a large plate of 
buttered toast. Nothing else. "But I or- 
dered bif-tek and pott-a-toes !" cried the 
puzzled historian to his visitor! 

Another guest of the Master's on that night 
was Mr. Swinburne, and of him, too, I have 
a vivid recollection as he sat opposite to me 
on the side next the fire, his small lower 
features and slender neck overweighted by 
his thick reddish hair and capacious brow. 
I could not think why he seemed so cross and 
uncomfortable. He was perpetually beck- 
oning to the waiters; then, when they came, 
holding peremptory conversation with them; 
while I from my side of the table could see 
them going away, with a whisper or a shrug 
to each other, like men asked for the im- 
possible. At last, with a kind of bound, 
Swinburne leaped from his chair and seized 
a copy of the Times which he seemed to have 
persuaded one of the men to bring him. 
As he got up I saw that the fire behind him, 
and very close to him, must indeed have 
been burning the very marrow out of a long- 
suffering poet. And, alack! in that house 

156 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

without a mistress the small conveniences of 
life, such as fire-screens, were often over- 
looked. The Master did not possess any. 
In a pale exasperation Swinburne folded the 
Times over the back of his chair and sat 
down again. Vain was the effort! The 
room was narrow, the party large, and the 
servants, pushing by, had soon dislodged the 
Times. Again and again did Swinburne in 
a fury replace it; and was soon reduced to 
sitting silent and wild-eyed, his back firmly 
pressed against the chair and the newspaper, 
in a concentrated struggle with fate. 

Matthew Arnold was another of the party, 
and I have a vision of my uncle standing 
talking with M. Taine, with whom he then 
and there made a lasting friendship. The 
Frenchman was not, I trust, aware at that 
moment of the heresies of the English critic 
who had ventured only a few years before to 
speak of "the exaggerated French estimate 
of Racine," and even to indorse the judgment 
of Joubert "Racine est le Virgile des ig- 
norants"! Otherwise M. Taine might have 
given an even sharper edge than he actually 
did to his remarks, in his letters home, on 
the critical faculty of the English. "In all 
that I read and hear," he says to Madame 
Taine, "I see nowhere the fine literary sense 
which means the gift or the art of un- 

157 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

derstanding the souls and passions of the 
past." And again, "I have had infinite 
trouble to-day to make my audience appre- 
ciate some finesses of Racine." There is a 
note of resigned exasperation in these com- 
ments which reminds me of the passionate 
feeling of another French critic Edmond 
Scherer, Sainte-Beuve's best successor ten 
years later. A propos of some judgment of 
Matthew Arnold whom Scherer delighted 
in on Racine, of the same kind as those I 
have already quoted, the French man of 
letters once broke out to me, almost with 
fury, as we walked together at Versailles. 
But, after all, was the Oxford which con- 
tained Pater, Pattison, and Bywater, which 
had nurtured Matthew Arnold and Swin- 
burne Swinburne with his wonderful knowl- 
edge of the intricacies and subtleties of the 
French tongue and the French literature 
merely " solide and positif," as Taine declares? 
The judgment is, I think, a characteristic 
judgment of that man of formulas often so 
brilliant and often so mistaken who, in the 
famous History of English Literature, taught 
his English readers as much by his blunders 
as by his merits. He provoked us into think- 
ing. And what critic does more? Is not the 
whole fraternity like so many successive 
Penelopes, each unraveling the web of the 

158 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

one before? The point is that the web 
should be eternally remade and eternally 
unraveled. 



ii 



I married Mr. Thomas Humphry Ward, 
Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose College, on 
April 6, 1872, the knot being tied by my 
father's friend, my grandfather's pupil and 
biographer, Dean Stanley. For nine years, 
till the spring of 1881, we lived in Oxford, 
in a little house north of the Parks, in what 
was then the newest quarter of the University 
town. They were years, for both of us, of 
great happiness and incessant activity. Our 
children, two daughters and a son, were born 
in 1874, 1876, and 1879. We had many 
friends, all pursuing the same kind of life as 
ourselves, and interested in the same kind of 
things. Nobody under the rank of a Head of 
a College, except a very few privileged 
Professors, possessed as much as a thousand 
a year. The average income of the new race 
of married tutors was not much more than 
half that sum. Yet we all gave dinner- 
parties and furnished our houses with Morris 
papers, old chests and cabinets, and blue 
pots. The dinner-parties were simple and 
short. At our own early efforts of the kind 

159 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

there certainly was not enough to eat. But 
we all improved with time; and on the 
whole I think we were very fair housekeepers 
and competent mothers. Most of us were 
very anxious to be up-to-date and in the 
fashion, whether in esthetics, in housekeep- 
ing, or in education. But our fashion was 
not that of Belgravia or Mayfair, which, in- 
deed, we scorned! It was the fashion of the 
movement which sprang from Morris and 
Burne-Jones. Liberty stuffs very plain in 
line, but elaborately " smocked/' were greatly 
in vogue, and evening dresses, "cut square," 
or with "Watteau pleats," were generally 
worn, and often in conscious protest against 
the London "low dress," which Oxford 
young married Oxford thought both ugly 
and "fast." And when we had donned our 
Liberty gowns we went out to dinner, the 
husband walking, the wife in a bath chair, 
drawn by an ancient member of an ancient 
and close fraternity the "chairmen" of old 
Oxford. 

Almost immediately opposite to us in the 
Bradmore Road lived Walter Pater and his 
sisters. The exquisiteness of their small 
house, and the charm of the three people 
who lived in it, will never be forgotten by 
those who knew them well in those days when 
by the publication of the Studies in the 

160 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

Renaissance (1873) their author had just 
become famous. I recall very clearly the 
effect of that book, and of the strange and 
poignant sense of beauty expressed in it; 
of its entire aloofness also from the Christian 
tradition of Oxford, its glorification of the 
higher and intenser forms of esthetic pleasure, 
of " passion" in the intellectual sense as 
against the Christian doctrine of self-denial 
and renunciation. It was a gospel that both 
stirred and scandalized Oxford. The bishop 
of the diocese thought it worth while to pro- 
test. There was a cry of "Neo-paganism," 
and various attempts at persecution. The 
author of the book was quite unmoved. In 
those days Walter Pater's mind was still 
full of revolutionary ferments which were 
just as sincere, just as much himself, as that 
later hesitating and wistful return toward 
Christianity, and Christianity of the Catholic 
type, which is embodied in Marius the Epi- 
curean, the most beautiful of the spiritual 
romances of Europe since the Confessions. 
I can remember a dinner-party at his house, 
where a great tumult arose over some abrupt 
statement of his made to the High Church 
wife of a well-known Professor. Pater had 
been in some way pressed controversially 
beyond the point of wisdom, and had said 
suddenly that no reasonable person could 

161 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

govern his life by the opinions or actions of 
a man who died eighteen centuries ago. The 
Professor and his wife I look back to them 
both with the warmest affection departed 
hurriedly, in agitation; and the rest of us 
only gradually found out what had happened. 
But before we left Oxford in 1881 this atti- 
tude of mind had, I think, greatly changed. 
Mr. Gosse, in the memoir of Walter Pater 
contributed to the Dictionary of National 
Biography, says that before 1870 he had 
gradually relinquished all belief in the Chris- 
tian religion and leaves it there. But the 
interesting and touching thing to watch was 
the gentle and almost imperceptible flowing 
back of the tide over the sands it had left 
bare. It may be said, I think, that he never 
returned to Christianity in the orthodox or 
intellectual sense. But his heart returned 
to it. He became once more endlessly inter- 
ested in it, and haunted by the " something" 
in it which he thought inexplicable. A re- 
membrance of my own shows this. In my 
ardent years of exploration and revolt, con- 
ditioned by the historical work that occupied 
me during the later 'seventies, I once said to 
him in tete-a-t^te, reckoning confidently on 
his sympathy, and with the intolerance and 
certainty of youth, that orthodoxy could not 
possibly maintain itself long against its as- 

162 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

sailants, especially from the historical and 
literary camps, and that we should live to 
see it break down. He shook his head and 
looked rather troubled. 

"I don't think so," he said. Then, with 
hesitation: "And we don't altogether agree. 
You think it's all plain. But I can't. There 
are such mysterious things. Take that say- 
ing, 'Come unto me, all ye that are weary 
and heavy-laden.' How can you explain that? 
There is a mystery in it something super- 
natural." 

A few years later, I should very likely have 
replied that the answer of the modern critic 
would be, "The words you quote are in all 
probability from a lost Wisdom book; there 
are very close analogies in Proverbs and in 
the Apocrypha. They are a fragment with- 
out a context, and may represent on the 
Lord's lips either a quotation or the text of a 
discourse. Wisdom is speaking the Wis- 
dom 'which is justified of her children." 
But if any one had made such a reply, it 
would not have affected the mood in Pater, of 
which this conversation gave me my first 
glimpse, and which is expressed again and 
again in the most exquisite passages of 
Marine. Turn to the first time when Marius 
under Marcus Aurelius is present at a 
Christian ceremony, and sees, for the first 

12 163 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

time, the " wonderful spectacle of those who 
believed." 

The people here collected might have figured 
as the earliest handsel or pattern of a new world, 
from the very face of which discontent had 
passed away. . . . They had faced life and 
were glad, by some science or light of knowledge 
they had, to which there was certainly no 
parallel in the older world. Was some credible 
message from beyond "the flaming rampart of 
the world" a message of hope . . . already 
molding their very bodies and looks and voices, 
now and here? 

Or again to the thoughts of Marius at the 
approach of death: 

At this moment, his unclouded receptivity of 
soul, grown so steadily through all those years, 
from experience to experience, was at its height; 
the house was ready for the possible guest, the 
tablet of the mind white and smooth, for whatever 
divine fingers might choose to write there. 

Marius was published twelve years after 
the Studies in the Renaissance, and there is a 
world between the two books. Some further 
light will be thrown on this later phase of 
Mr. Pater's thought by a letter he wrote 
to me in 1885 on my translation of Amiel's 
From Journal Intime. Here it is rather 

164 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

the middle days of his life that concern me, 
and the years of happy friendship with him 
and his sisters, when we were all young to- 
gether. Mr. Pater and my husband were 
both fellows and tutors of Brasenose, though 
my husband was much the younger, a fact 
which naturally brought us into frequent 
contact. And the beautiful little house 
across the road, with its two dear mistresses, 
drew me perpetually, both before and after 
my marriage. The drawing-room, which runs 
the whole breadth of the house from the 
road to the garden behind, was "Paterian" 
in every line and ornament. There were a 
Morris paper; spindle-legged tables and 
chairs; a sparing allowance of blue plates and 
pots, bought, I think, in Holland, where 
Oxford residents in my day were always 
foraging, to return, often, with treasures of 
which the very memory now stirs a half- 
amused envy of one's own past self, that 
had such chances and lost them; framed 
embroidery of the most delicate design and 
color, the work of Mr. Pater's elder sister; 
engravings, if I remember right, from Botti- 
celli, or Luini, or Mantegna; a few mirrors, 
and a very few flowers, chosen and arranged 
with a simple yet conscious art. I see that 
room always with the sun in it, touching 
the polished surfaces of wood and brass and 

165 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

china, and bringing out its pure, bright color. 
I see it too pervaded by the presence of the 
younger sister, Clara a personality never to 
be forgotten by those who loved her. Clara 
Pater, whose grave and noble beauty in 
youth has been preserved in a drawing by 
Mr. Wirgman, was indeed a "rare and dedi- 
cated spirit." When I first knew her she 
was four or five and twenty, intelligent, alive, 
sympathetic, with a delightful humor and 
a strong judgment, but without much posi- 
tive acquirement. Then after some years 
she began to learn Latin and Greek with a 
view to teaching; and after we left Oxford 
she became Vice-President of the new Somer- 
ville College for Women. Several genera- 
tions of girl-students must still preserve the 
tenderest and most grateful memories of all 
that she was there, as woman, teacher, and 
friend. Her point of view, her opinion, had 
always the crispness, the savor that goes with 
perfect sincerity. She feared no one, and 
she loved many, as they loved her. She 
loved animals, too, as all the household did. 
How well I remember the devoted nursing 
given by the brother and sisters to a poor 
little paralytic cat, whose life they tried to 
save in vain! When, later, I came across 
in Marius the account of Marcus Aurelius 
carrying away the dead child Annius Verus 

166 



YOUNG DAYS AT OXFORD 

" pressed closely to his bosom, as if yearn- 
ing just then for one thing only, to be united, 
to be absolutely one with it, in its obscure 
distress" I remembered the absorption of 
the writer of those lines, and of his sisters, 
in the suffering of that poor little creature, 
long years before. I feel tolerably certain 
that in writing the words Walter Pater had 
that past experience in mind. 

After Walter Pater's death, Clara, with 
her elder sister, became the vigilant and joint 
guardians of their brother's books and fame, 
till, four years ago, a terrible illness cut 
short her life, and set free, in her brother's 
words, the "unclouded and receptive soul." 



CHAPTER VII 

BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

VV7HEN the Oxford historian of the fu- 
ture comes across the name and in- 
fluence of Benjamin Jowett, the famous 
Master of Balliol, and Greek professor, in 
the mid-current of the nineteenth century, 
he will not be without full means of finding 
out what made that slight figure (whereof he 
will be able to study the outward and visible 
presence in some excellent portraits, and in 
many caricatures) so significant and so 
representative. The Life of the Master, by 
Evelyn Abbott and Lewis Campbell, is to me 
one of the most interesting biographies of our 
generation. It is long for those who have 
no Oxford ties, no doubt, too long; and it is 
cumbered with the echoes of old controver- 
sies, theological and academic, which have 
mostly, though by no means wholly, passed 
into a dusty limbo. But it is one of the rare 
attempts that English biography has seen to 
paint a man as he really was; and to paint 
him not with the sub-malicious strokes of a 
Purcell, but in love, although in truth. 
The Master, as he fought his many fights, 

168 




BENJAMIN JOWETT 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

with his abnormally strong will and his 
dominating personality; the Master, as he 
appeared, on the one hand, to the upholders 
of " research," of learning, that is, as an end 
in itself apart from teaching, and, on the 
other, to the High-Churchmen encamped in 
Christ Church, to Pusey, Liddon, and all 
their clan pugnacious, formidable, and gen- 
erally successful here he is to the life. This 
is the Master whose personality could never 
be forgotten in any room he chose to enter; 
who brought restraint rather than ease to 
the gatherings of his friends, mainly because, 
according to his own account, of a shyness he 
could never overcome ; whose company on a 
walk was too often more of a torture than 
an honor to the undergraduate selected for 
it; whose lightest words were feared, quoted, 
chuckled over, or resented, like those of no 
one else. 

Of this Master I have many remembrances. 
I see, for instance, a drawing-room full of 
rather tongue-tied, embarrassed guests, some 
Oxford residents, some Londoners; and the 
Master among them, as a stimulating but 
disintegrating! force, of whom every one 
was uneasily conscious. The circle was wide, 
the room bare, and the Balliol arm-chairs 
were not placed for conversation. On a high 
chair against the wall sat a small boy of ten 

169 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

we will call him Arthur oppressed by 
his surroundings. The talk languished and 
dropped. From one side of the large room, 
the Master, raising his voice, addressed the 
small boy on the other side. 

"Well, Arthur, so I hear you've begun 
Greek. How are you getting on?" 

To the small boy looking round the room 
it seemed as though twenty awful grown- 
ups were waiting in a dead silence to eat him 
up. He rushed upon his answer. 

"I I'm reading the Anabasis," he said, 
desperately. 

The false quantity sent a shock through 
the room. Nobody laughed, out of sym- 
pathy with the boy, who already knew that 
something dreadful had happened. The 
boy's miserable parents, Londoners, who 
were among the twenty, wished themselves 
under the floor. The Master smiled. 

"The Anabasis, Arthur," he said, cheer- 
fully. "You'll get it right next time." 

And he went across to the boy, evidently 
feeling for him and wishing to put him at 
ease. But after thirty years the boy and 
his parents still remember the incident with 
a shiver. It could not have produced such 
an effect except in an atmosphere of tension; 
and that, alas! too often, was the atmosphere 
which surrounded the Master. 

170 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

I can remember, too, many proud yet 
anxious half -hours in the Master's study- 
such a privilege, yet such an ordeal! when, 
after our migration to London, we became, 
at regular intervals, the Master's week-end 
visitors. "Come and talk to me a little in 
my study," the Master would say, pleasantly. 
And there in the room where he worked for 
so many years, as the interpreter of Greek 
thought to the English world, one would take 
a chair beside the fire, with the Master oppo- 
site. I have described my fireside tete-a- 
tetes, as a girl, with another head of a 
College the Rector of Lincoln, Mark Patti- 
son. But the Master was a far more stren- 
uous companion. With him, there were no 
diversions, none! no relief from the breath- 
less adventure of trying to please him and 
doing one's best. The Rector once, being a 
little invalidish, allowed me to make up the 
fire, and, after watching the process sharply, 
said: "Good! Does it drive you distracted, 
too, when people put on coals the wrong 
way?" An interruption which made for 
human sympathy! The Master, as far as 
I can remember, had no "nerves"; and 
"nerves" are a bond between many. But 
he occasionally had sudden returns upon 
himself. I remember once after we had been 
discussing a religious book which had in- 

m 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

terested us both, he abruptly drew himself 
up, in the full tide of talk, and said, with a 
curious impatience, "But one can't be always 
thinking of these things!" and changed the 
subject. 

So much for the Master, the stimulus of 
whose mere presence was, according to his 
biographers, " of ten painful." But there 
were at least two other Masters in the "Mr. 
Jowett" we reverenced. And they, too, are 
fully shown in this biography. The Master 
who loved his friends and thought no pains 
too great to take for them, including the 
very rare pains of trying to mend their 
characters by faithfulness and plain speak- 
ing, whenever he thought they wanted it. 
The Master, again, whose sympathies were 
always with social reform and with the poor, 
whose hidden life was full of deeds of kind- 
ness and charity, who, in spite of his dif- 
ficulties of manner, was loved by all sorts 
and conditions of men and women in all 
circles of life, by politicians and great ladies, 
by diplomats and scholars and poets, by 
his secretary and his servants there are 
many traits of this good man and useful 
citizen recorded by his biographers. 

And, finally, there was the Master who 
reminded his most intimate friends of a sen- 
tence of his about Greek literature, which 

172 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

occurs in the Introduction to the Phcedrus: 
" Under the marble exterior of Greek litera- 
ture was concealed a soul thrilling with spirit- 
ual emotion," says the Master. His own 
was not exactly a marble exterior; but the 
placid and yet shrewd cheerfulness of his 
delicately rounded face, with its small mouth 
and chin, its great brow and frame of snowy 
hair, gave but little clue to the sensitive and 
mystical soul within. If ever a man was 
Gottbetrunken, it was the Master, many of 
whose meditations and passing thoughts, 
withdrawn, while he lived, from all human 
ken, yet written down in thirty or forty 
volumes! for his own discipline and re- 
membrance, can now be read, thanks to his 
biographers, in the pages of the Life. They 
are extraordinarily frank and simple; star- 
tling, often, in their bareness and truth. But 
they are, above all, the thoughts of a mystic, 
moving in a Divine presence. An old and 
intimate friend of the Master's once said to 
me that he believed "Jowett's inner mind, 
especially toward the end of his life, was 
always in an attitude of Prayer. One would 
go and talk to him on University or College 
business in his study, and suddenly see his 
lips moving, slightly and silently, and know 
what it meant." The records of him which 
his death revealed and his closest friends 

173 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

realized it in life show a man perpetually 
conscious of a mysterious and blessed com- 
panionship; which is the mark of the re- 
ligious man, in all faiths and all churches. 
Yet this was the man who, for the High 
Church party at Oxford, with its head- 
quarters at Christ Church, under the flag of 
Doctor Pusey and Canon Liddon, was the 
symbol and embodiment of all heresy; whose 
University salary as Greek professor, which 
depended on a Christ Church subsidy, was 
withheld for years by the same High-Church- 
men, because of their inextinguishable wrath 
against the Liberal leader who had con- 
tributed so largely to the test-abolishing 
legislation of 1870 legislation by which 
Oxford, in Liddon's words, was " logically 
lost to the Church of England." 

Yet no doubt they had their excuses! 
For this, too, was the man who, in a city 
haunted by Tractarian shades, once said to 
his chief biographer that " Voltaire had done 
more good than all the Fathers of the Church 
put together!" who scornfully asks him- 
self in his diary, a propos of the Bishops' 
condemnation of Essays and Reviews, " What 
is Truth against an esprit de corps?" and 
drops out the quiet dictum, "Half the books 
that are published are religious books, and 
what trash this religious literature is!" Nor 

174 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

did the Evangelicals escape. The Master's 
dislike for many well-known hymns specially 
dear to that persuasion was never concealed. 
"How cocky they are!" he would say, con- 
temptuously. " ' When upward I fly Quite 
justified I' who can repeat a thing like 
that?" 

How the old war-cries ring again in one's 
ears as one looks back! Those who have 
only known the Oxford of the last twenty 
years can never, I think, feel toward that 
"august place" as we did, in the seventies 
of the last century; we who were still within 
sight and hearing of the great fighting years 
of an earlier generation, and still scorched 
by their dying fires. Balliol, Christ Church, 
Lincoln the Liberal and utilitarian camp, 
the Church camp, the researching and pure 
scholarship camp with Science and the 
Museum hovering in the background, as the 
growing aggressive powers of the future seek- 
ing whom they might devour they were the 
signs and symbols of mighty hosts, of great 
forces stih 1 visibly incarnate, and in marching 
array. Balliol versus Christ Church Jowett 
versus Pusey and Liddon while Lincoln 
despised both, and the new scientific forces 
watched and waited that was how we saw 
the field of battle, and the various alarms 
and excursions it was always providing. 

175 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

But Balliol meant more to me than the 
Master. Professor Thomas Hill Green 
"Green of Balliol" was no less representa- 
tive in our days of the spiritual and liberating 
forces of the great college; and the time which 
has now elapsed since his death has clearly 
shown that his philosophic work and influence 
hold a lasting and conspicuous place in the 
history of nineteenth-century thought. He 
and his wife became our intimate friends, 
and in the Grey of Robert Elsmere I tried to 
reproduce a few of those traits traits of a 
great thinker and teacher, who was also one 
of the simplest, sincerest, and most practical 
of men which Oxford will never forget, so 
long as high culture and noble character are 
dear to her. His wife so his friend and 
biographer, Lewis Nettleship, tells us once 
compared him to Sir Bors in "The Holy 
Grail": 

A square-set man and honest; and his eyes, 
An outdoor sign of all the wealth within, 
Smiled with his lips a smile beneath a cloud, 
But Heaven had meant it for a sunny one! 

A quotation in which the mingling of a cheer- 
ful, practical, humorous temper, the temper 
of the active citizen and politician, with the 
heavy tasks of philosophic thought, is very 
happily suggested. As we knew him, indeed, 

176 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

and before the publication of the Prolegomena 
to Ethics and the Introduction to the Claren- 
don Press edition of Hume had led to his 
appointment as Whyte's Professor of Moral 
Philosophy, Mr. Green was not only a lead- 
ing Balliol tutor, but an energetic Liberal, a 
member both of the Oxford Town Council 
and of various University bodies; a helper 
in all the great steps taken for the higher 
education of women at Oxford, and keenly 
attracted by the project of a High School 
for the town boys of Oxford a man, in other 
words, preoccupied, just as the Master was, 
and, for all his philosophic genius, with the 
need of leading "a useful life." 

Let me pause to think how much that 
phrase meant in the mouths of the best men 
whom Balliol produced, in the days when I 
knew Oxford. The Master, Green, Toynbee 
their minds were full, half a century ago, 
of the " condition of the people" question, 
of temperance, housing, wages, electoral re- 
form; and within the University, and by the 
help of the weapons of thought and teaching, 
they regarded themselves as the natural allies 
of the Liberal party which was striving 
for these things through politics and Parlia- 
ment. " Usefulness," " social reform," the 
bettering of daily life for the many these 
ideas are stamped on all their work and 

177 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

on all the biographies of them that remain 
to us. 

And the significance of it is only to be 
realized when we turn to the rival group, to 
Christ Church, and the religious party which 
that name stood for. Read the lives of 
Liddon, of Pusey, or to go farther back 
of the great Newman himself. Nobody will 
question the personal goodness and charity 
of any of the three. But how little the lead- 
ing ideas of that seething time of social and 
industrial reform, from the appearance of 
Sybil in 1843 to the Education BiU of 1870, 
mattered either to Pusey or to Liddon, 
compared with the date of the Book of 
Daniel or the retention of the Athanasian 
Creed? Newman, at a time when national 
drunkenness was an overshadowing terror in 
the minds of all reformers, confesses with a 
pathetic frankness that he had never con- 
sidered " whether there were too many pub- 
lic-houses in England or no"; and in all his 
religious controversies of the 'thirties and the 
'forties, you will look in vain for any word 
of industrial or political reform. So also in 
the Life of that great rhetorician and beauti- 
ful personality, Canon Liddon, you will 
scarcely find a single letter that touches on 
any question of social betterment. How to 
safeguard the " principle of authority," how 

178 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

to uphold the traditional authorship of the 
Pentateuch, and of the Book of Daniel, 
against " infidel" criticism; how to stifle 
among the younger High-Churchmen like 
Mr. (now Bishop) Gore, then head of the 
Pusey House, the first advances toward a 
reasonable freedom of thought; how to 
maintain the doctrine of Eternal Punish- 
ment against the protest of the religious con- 
sciousness itself it is on these matters that 
Canon Liddon 's correspondence turns, it 
was to them his life was devoted. 

How vainly! Who can doubt now which 
type of life and thought had in it the seeds 
of growth and permanence the Balliol type, 
or the Christ Church type? There are many 
High-Churchmen, it is true, at the present 
day, and many Ritualist Churches. But 
they are alive to-day, just in so far as they 
have learned the lesson of social pity, and 
the lesson of a reasonable criticism, from the 
men whom Pusey and Liddon and half the 
bishops condemned and persecuted in the 
middle years of the nineteenth century. 

When we were living in Oxford, however, 
this was not exactly the point of view from 
which the great figure of Liddon presented 
itself, to us of the Liberal camp. We were 
constantly aware of him, no doubt, as the 
rival figure to the Master of Balliol, as the 

13 179 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

arch wire-puller and ecclesiastical intriguer 
in University affairs, leading the Church 
forces with a more than Roman astuteness. 
But his great mark was made, of course, by 
his preaching, and that not so much by the 
things said as by the man saying them. 
Who now would go to Liddon's famous 
Bamptons, for all their learning, for a still 
valid defense of the orthodox doctrine of the 
Incarnation? Those wonderful paragraphs 
of subtle argumentation from which the great 
preacher emerged, as triumphantly as Mr. 
Gladstone from a Gladstonian sentence in a 
House of Commons debate what remains 
of them? Liddon wrote of Stanley that he 
Stanley was "more entirely destitute of the 
logical faculty" than any educated man he 
knew. In a sense it was true. But Stanley, 
if he had been aware of the criticism, might 
have replied that, if he lacked logic, Liddon 
lacked something much more vital i. e., the 
sense of history and of the relative value 
of testimony! 

Newman, Pusey, Liddon all three, great 
schoolmen, arguing from an accepted brief; 
the man of genius, the man of a vast industry, 
intense but futile, the man of captivating 
presence and a perfect rhetoric history, 
with its patient burrowings, has surely un- 
dermined the work of all three, sparing only 

180 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

that element in the work of one of them 
Newman which is the preserving salt of 
all literature i. e., the magic of person- 
ality. And some of the most efficacious bur- 
rowers have been their own spiritual chil- 
dren. As was fitting! For the Tractarian 
movement, with its appeal to the primitive 
Church, was in truth, and quite uncon- 
sciously, one of the agencies in a great 
process of historical inquiry which is still 
going on, and of which the end is not yet. 

But to me, in my twenties, these great 
names were not merely names or symbols, as 
they are to the men and women of the present 
generation. Newman I had seen in my 
childhood, walking about the streets of 
Edgbaston, and had shrunk from him in a 
dumb, childish resentment as from some one 
whom I understood to be the author of our 
family misfortunes. In those days, as I 
have already recalled in an earlier chapter, 
the daughters of a "mixed marriage" were 
brought up in the mother's faith, and the 
sons in the father's. I, therefore, as a school- 
girl under Evangelical influence, was not al- 
lowed to make friends with any of my 
father's Catholic colleagues. Then, in 1880, 
twenty years later, Newman came to Oxford, 
and on Trinity Monday there was a great 
gathering at Trinity College, where the Car- 

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A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

dinal in his red, a blanched and spiritual 
presence, received the homage of a new 
generation who saw in him a great soul and 
a great master of English, and cared little or 
nothing for the controversies in which he 
had spent his prime. As my turn came to 
shake hands, I recalled my father to him and 
the Edgbaston days. His face lit up al- 
most mischievously. "Are you the little 
girl I remember seeing sometimes in the 
distance?" he said to me, with a smile and 
a look that only he and I understood. 

On the Sunday preceding that gathering I 
went to hear his last sermon in the city he 
had loved so well, preached at the new 
Jesuit church in the suburbs; while little 
more than a mile away, Bidding Prayer and 
sermon were going on as usual in the Uni- 
versity Church where in his youth, week by 
week, he had so deeply stirred the hearts 
and consciences of men. The sermon in St. 
Aloysius's was preached with great difficulty, 
and was almost incoherent from the physical 
weakness of the speaker. Yet who that was 
present on that Sunday will ever forget the 
great ghost that fronted them, the faltering 
accents, the words from which the life-blood 
had departed, yet not the charm? 

Then Pusey! There comes back to me 
a bowed and uncouth figure, whom one used 

182 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

to see both in the Cathedral procession on 
a Sunday, and rarely in the University 
pulpit. One sermon on Darwinism, which 
was preached, if I remember right, in the 
early 'seventies, remains with me, as the ap- 
pearance of some modern Elijah, returning 
after long silence and exile to protest against 
an unbelieving world. Sara Coleridge had 
years before described Pusey in the pulpit 
with a few vivid strokes. 

He has not one of the graces of oratory [she 
says]. His discourse is generally a rhapsody 
describing with infinite repetition the wickedness 
of sin, the worthlessness of earth, and the blessed- 
ness of Heaven. He is as still as a statue all the 
time he is uttering it, looks as white as a sheet, 
and is as monotonous in delivery as possible. 

Nevertheless, Pusey wielded a spell which 
is worth much oratory the spell of a soul 
dwelling spiritually on the heights; and a 
prophet, moreover, may be as monotonous 
or as incoherent as he pleases, while the 
world is still in tune with his message. But 
in the 'seventies, Oxford, at least, was no 
longer in tune with Pusey's message, and 
the effect of the veteran leader, trying to 
come to terms with Darwinism, struggling, 
that is, with new and stubborn forces he had 
no further power to bind, was tragic, or 

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A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

pathetic, as such things must always be. 
New Puseys arise in every century. The 
"sons of authority" will never perish out of 
the earth. But the language changes and 
the argument changes; and perhaps there 
are none more secretly impatient with the 
old prophet than those younger spirits of his 
own kind who are already stepping into his 
shoes. 

Far different was the effect of Liddon, in 
those days, upon us younger folk! The 
grace and charm of Liddon's personal pres- 
ence were as valuable to his party in the 
'seventies as that of Dean Stanley had been 
to Liberalism at an earlier stage. There was 
indeed much in common between the aspect 
and manner of the two men, though no like- 
ness, in the strict sense, whatever. But the 
exquisite delicacy of feature, the brightness 
of eye, the sensitive play of expression, were 
alike in both. Saint Simon says of Fenelon : 

He was well made, pale, with eyes that show- 
ered intelligence and fire and with a physiog- 
nomy that no one who had seen it once could 
forget. It had both gravity and polish, serious- 
ness and gaiety; it spoke equally of the scholar, 
the bishop, and the grand seigneur, and the final 
impression was one of intelligence, subtlety, 
grace, charm; above all, of dignity. One had 

to tear oneself from looking at him. 

184 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

Many of those who knew Liddon best 
could, I think, have adapted this language 
to him; and there is much in it that fitted 
Arthur Stanley. 

But the love and gift for managing men 
was of course a secondary thing in the case 
of our great preacher. The University poli- 
tics of Liddon and his followers are dead and 
gone; and as I have ventured to think, the 
intellectual force of Liddon's thoughts and 
arguments, as they are presented to us now 
on the printed page, is also a thing of the 
past. But the vision of the preacher in 
those who saw it is imperishable. The 
scene in St. Paul's has been often described, 
by none better than by Doctor Liddon's 
colleague, Canon Scott Holland. But the 
Oxford scene, with all its Old World setting, 
was more touching, more interesting. As I 
think of it, I seem to be looking out from 
those dark seats under the undergraduates' 
gallery where sat the wives of the Masters 
of Arts at the crowded church, as it waited 
for the preacher. First came the stir of the 
procession; the long line of Heads of Houses, 
in their scarlet robes as Doctors of Divinity 
all but the two heretics, Pattison and Jowett, 
who walked in their plain black, and warmed 
my heart always thereby! And then the 
Vice-Chancellor, with the " pokers" and the 

185 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

preacher. All eyes were fixed on the slender, 
willowy figure, and the dark head touched 
with silver. The bow to the Vice-Chancellor 
as they parted at the foot of the pulpit stairs, 
the mounting of the pulpit, the quiet look 
out over the Church, the Bidding Prayer, the 
voice it was all part of an incomparable 
performance which cannot be paralleled 
to-day. 

The voice was high and penetrating, with- 
out much variety, as I remember it; but of 
beautiful quality, and at times wonderfully 
moving. And what was still more appeal- 
ing was the evident strain upon the speaker 
of his message. It wore him out visibly as 
he delivered it. He came down from the 
pulpit white and shaken, dripping with 
perspiration. Virtue had gone out of him. 
Yet his effort had never for a moment weak- 
ened his perfect self-control, the flow and 
finish of the long sentences, or the subtle 
interconnection of the whole! One Sunday 
I remember in particular. Oxford had been 
saddened the day before by the somewhat 
sudden death of a woman whom everybody 
loved and respected Mrs. Acland, the wife 
of the well-known doctor and professor. 
And Liddon, with a wonderfully happy in- 
stinct, had added to his sermon a paragraph 
dealing with Mrs. Acland's death, which held 

186 



BALLIOL AND LINCOLN 

us all spellbound till the beautiful words 
died into silence. It was done with a fas- 
tidious literary taste that is rather French 
than English; and yet it came from the very 
heart of the speaker. Looking back through 
my many memories of Doctor Liddon as a 
preacher, that tribute to a noble woman in 
death remains with me as the finest and most 
lasting of them all. 



CHAPTER VIII 

EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

LJOW many other figures in that vanished 
* * Oxford world I should like to draw! 
Mandell or "Max" Creighton, our lifelong 
friend, then just married to the wife who 
was his best comrade while he lived, and 
since his death has made herself an indepen- 
dent force in English life. I first remember 
the future Bishop of London when I was 
fifteen, and he was reading history with my 
father on a Devonshire reading-party. The 
tall, slight figure in blue serge, the red-gold 
hair, the spectacles, the keen features and 
quiet, commanding eye I see them first 
against a background of rocks on the Lynton 
shore. Then again, a few years later, in his 
beautiful Merton rooms, with the vine 
tendrils curling round the windows, the 
Morris paper, and the blue willow-pattern 
plates upon it, that he was surely the first 
to collect in Oxford. A luncheon-party re- 
turns upon me in Brasenose where the 
brilliant Merton Fellow and tutor, already a 
power in Oxford, first met his future wife; 
afterward, their earliest married home in 

188 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

Oxford so near to ours, in the new region of 
the Parks; then the Vicarage on the North- 
umberland coast where Creighton wrestled 
with the north-country folk, with their vir- 
tues and their vices, drinking deep draughts 
thereby from the sources of human nature; 
where he read and wrote history, preparing 
for his magnum opus, the history of the 
Renaissance Popes; where he entertained his 
friends, brought up his children, and took 
mighty walks always the same restless, 
energetic, practical, pondering spirit, his 
mind set upon the Kingdom of God, and 
convinced that in and through the English 
Church a man might strive for the Kingdom 
as faithfully and honestly as anywhere else. 
The intellectual doubts and misgivings on the 
subject of taking orders, so common in the 
Oxford of his day, Creighton had never felt. 
His life had ripened to a rich maturity with- 
out, apparently, any of those fundamental 
conflicts which had scarred the lives of other 
men. 

The fact set him in strong contrast with 
another historian who was also our intimate 
friend John Richard Green. When I first 
knew him, during my engagement to my 
husband, and seven years before the Short 
History was published, he had just practically 
though not formally given up his orders. 

189 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

He had been originally curate to my hus- 
band's father, who held a London living, and 
the bond between him and his Vicar's family 
was singularly close and affectionate. After 
the death of the dear mother of the flock, a 
saintly and tender spirit, to whom Mr. 
Green was much attached, he remained the 
faithful friend of all her children. How much 
I had heard of him before I saw him! The 
expectation of our first meeting filled me 
with trepidation. Should I be admitted, 
too, into that large and generous heart? 
Would he "pass" the girl who had dared to 
be his " boy's" fiancee? But after ten min- 
utes all was well, and he was my friend no 
less than my husband's, to the last hour of 
his fruitful, suffering life. 

And how much it meant, his friendship! 
It became plain very soon after our marriage 
that ours was to be a literary partnership. 
My first published story, written when I 
was eighteen, had appeared in the Church- 
man's Magazine in 1870, and an article on 
the "Poema del Cid," the first-fruits of my 
Spanish browsings in the Bodleian, appeared 
in Macmillan early in 1872. My husband 
was already writing in the Saturday Review 
and other quarters, and had won his literary 
spurs as one of the three authors of that 
jeu d'esprit of no small fame in its day, the 

190 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

Oxford Spectator. Our three children ar- 
rived in 1874, 1876, and 1879, and all the 
time I was reading, listening, talking, and 
beginning to write in earnest mostly for 
the Saturday Review. "J. R. G.," as we 
loved to call him, took up my efforts with 
the warmest encouragement, tempered, in- 
deed, by constant fears that I should become 
a hopeless bookworm and dryasdust, yield- 
ing day after day to the mere luxury of 
reading, and putting nothing into shape! 

Against this supposed tendency in me he 
railed perpetually. "Any one can read!" he 
would say; "anybody of decent wits can 
accumulate notes and references; the diffi- 
culty is to write to make something !" And 
later on, when I was deep in Spanish chron- 
icles and thinking vaguely of a History of 
Spain early Spain, at any rate he wrote, 
almost impatiently: "Begin and begin 
your book. Don't do 'studies' and that 
sort of thing one's book teaches one every- 
thing as one writes it." I was reminded of 
that letter years later when I came across, 
in Amiel's Journal, a passage almost to the 
same effect: "It is by writing that one 
learns it is by pumping that one draws 
water into one's well." But in J. R. G.'s 
case the advice he gave his friend was carried 
out by himself through every hour of his 

191 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

short, concentrated life. "He died learn- 
ing/' as the inscription on his grave testifies; 
but he also died making. In other words, 
the shaping, creative instinct wrestled in 
him with the powers of death through long 
years, and never deserted him to the very 
end. Who that has ever known the passion 
of the writer and the student can read with- 
out tears the record of his last months? 
He was already doomed when I first saw 
him in 1871, for signs of tuberculosis had 
been discovered in 1869, and all through the 
'seventies and till he died, in 1883, while 
he was writing the Short History, the ex- 
panded Library Edition in four volumes, and 
the two brilliant monographs on The Making 
of England and The Conquest of England, 
the last of which was put together from his 
notes, and finished by his devoted wife and 
secretary after his death, he was fighting 
for his life, in order that he might finish 
his work. He was a dying man from Janu- 
ary, 1881, but he finished and published The 
Making of England in 1882, and began The 
Conquest of England. On February 25th, 
ten days before his death, his wife told him 
that the end was near. He thought a little, 
and said that he had still something to say 
in his book " which is worth saying. I will 
make a fight for it. I will do what I can. 

192 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

and I must have sleeping-draughts for a 
week. After that it will not matter if they 
lose their effect." He worked on a little 
longer but on March 7th all was over. My 
husband had gone out to see him in February, 
and came home marveling at the miracle of 
such life in death. 

I have spoken of the wonderful stimulus 
and encouragement he could give to the 
young student. But he was no flatterer. 
No one could strike harder or swifter than 
he, when he chose. 

It was to me in his eager friendship for 
"Humphry's" young wife he first intrusted 
the task of that primer of English literature 
which afterward Mr. Stopford Brooke carried 
out with such astonishing success. But I 
was far too young for such a piece of work, 
and knew far too little. I wrote a beginning, 
however, and took it up to him when he 
was in rooms in Beaumont Street. He was 
entirely dissatisfied with it, and as gently 
and kindly as possible told me it wouldn't 
do and that I must give it up. 1 Then throw- 

1 Since writing these lines, I have been amused to discover 
the following reference in the brilliant biography of Stopford 
Brooke, by his son-in-law, Principal Jacks, to my unlucky 
attempt. "The only advantage," says Mr. Brooke in his 
diary for May 8, 1899, "the older writer has over the younger 
is that he knows what to leave out and has a juster sense of 
proportion. I remember that when Green wanted the Primer 

of English Literature to be done, Mrs. asked if she might 

193 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ing it aside, he began to walk up and down 
his room, sketching out how such a general 
outline of English literature might be written 
and should be written. I sat by enchant- 
ed, all my natural disappointment charmed 
away. The knowledge, the enthusiasm, the 
shaping power of the frail human being 
moving there before me with the slight, 
emaciated figure, the great brow, the bright 
eyes; all the physical presence instinct, 
aflame, with the intellectual and poetic pas- 
sion which grew upon him as he traced the 
mighty stream of England's thought and 
song it was an experience never forgotten, 
one of those by which mind teaches mind, 
and the endless succession is carried on. 

There is another memory from the early 
time, which comes back to me of J. R. G. 
in Notre Dame. We were on our honey- 
moon journey, and we came across him in 
Paris. We went together to Notre Dame, 
and there, as we all lingered at the western 
end, looking up to the gleaming color of the 
distant apse, the spirit came upon him. He 
began to describe what the Church had seen, 
coming down through the generations, from 
vision to vision. He spoke in a low voice, 

try her hand at it. He said 'Yes,' and she set to work. She 
took a fancy to Beowulf, and wrote twenty pages on it! At 
this rate the book would have run to more than a thousand 
pages." 

194 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

but without a pause or break, standing in 
deep shadow close to the western door. One 
scarcely saw him, and I almost lost the sense 
of his individuality. It seemed to be the 
very voice of History Life telling of itself. 
Liberty and the passion for liberty were 
the very breath of his being. In 1871, just 
after the Commune, I wrote him a cry of 
pity and horror about the execution of 
Rossel, the " heroic young Protestant who 
had fought the Versaillais because they had 
made peace, and prevented him from fighting 
the Prussians." J. R. G. replied that the only 
defense of a man who fought for the Com- 
mune was that he believed in it, while Rossel, 
by his own statement, did not. 

People like old Delescluze are more to my 
mind, men who believe, rightly or wrongly (in 
the ideas of '93), and cling to their faith through 
thirteen years of the hulks and of Cayenne, 
who get their chance at last, fight, work, and 
then when all is over know how to die as 
Delescluze, with that gray head bared and the 
old threadbare coat thrown open, walked quietly 
and without a word up to the fatal barricade. 

His place in the ranks of history is high 
and safe. That was abundantly shown by 
the testimony of the large gathering of 
English scholars and historians at the memo- 

,.-u 195 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

rial meeting held in his own college some 
years ago. He remains as one of the leaders 
of that school (there is, of course, another 
and a strong one!) which holds that without 
imagination and personality a man had bet- 
ter not write history at all; since no re- 
creation of the past is really possible withou't 
the kindling and welding force that a man 
draws from his own spirit. 

But it is as a friend that I desire with 
undying love and gratitude to commem- 
orate him here. To my husband, to all the 
motherless family he had taken to his heart, 
he was affection and constancy itself. And 
as for me, just before the last visit that we 
paid him at Mentone in 1882, a year before 
he died, he was actually thinking out schemes 
for that history of early Spain which it 
seemed, both to him and me, I must at last 
begin, and was inquiring what help I could 
get from libraries on the Riviera during 
our stay with him. Then, when we came, 
I remember our talks in the little Villa St. 
Nicholas his sympathy, his enthusiasm, his 
unselfish help; while all the time he was 
wrestling with death for just a few more 
months in which to finish his own work. 
Both Lord Bryce and Sir Leslie Stephen 
have paid their tribute to this wonderful 
talk of his later years. " No such talk," says 

196 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

Lord Bryce, "has been heard in our genera- 
tion." Of Madame de Stael it was said that 
she wrote her books out of the talk of the 
distinguished men who frequented her salon. 
Her own conversation was directed to evok- 
ing from the brains of others what she after- 
ward, as an artist, knew how to use better 
than they. Her talk small blame to her! 
was plundering and acquisitive. But J. 
R. G.'s talk gave perpetually . admirable 
listener though he was. All that he had he 
gave; so that our final thought of him is 
not that of the suffering invalid, the thwarted 
workman, the life cut short, but rather that 
of one who had richly done his part and left 
in his friends' memories no mere pathetic 
appeal, but much more a bracing message 
for their own easier and longer lives. 

Of the two other historians with whom 
my youth threw me into contact, Mr. Free- 
man and Bishop Stubbs, I have some lively 
memories. Mr. Freeman was first known 
to me, I think, through " Johnny," as he was 
wont to call J. R. G., whom he adored. Both 
he and J. R. G. were admirable letter- writers, 
and a volume of their correspondence much 
of it already published separately if it 
could be put together like that of Flaubert 
and George Sand would make excellent 

197 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

reading for a future generation. In 1877 
and 1878, when I was plunged in the history 
of West-Gothic Kings, I had many letters 
from Mr. Freeman, and never were letters 
about grave matters less grave. Take this 
outburst about a lady who had sent him some 
historical work to look at. He greatly liked 
and admired the lady; but her work drove 
him wild. "I never saw anything like it for 
missing the point of everything. . . . Then 
she has no notion of putting a sentence to- 
gether, so that she said some things which 
I fancy she did not mean to say as that 
'the beloved Queen Louisa of Prussia' was 
the mother of M. Thiers. When she said 
that the Duke of Orleans's horses ran away, 
'leaving two infant sons,' it may have been 
so: I have no evidence either way." 

Again, "I am going to send you the Spanish 
part of my Historical Geography. It will 
be very bad, but when I don't know a thing 
I believe I generally know that I don't 
know it, and so manage to wrap it up in 
some vague phrase which, if not right, may 
at least not be wrong. Thus I have always 
held that the nursery account of Henry 
VIII 

And Henry the Eighth was as fat as a pig 
is to be preferred to Froude's version. For, 

198 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

though certainly an inadequate account of 
the reign, it is true as far as it goes." 

Once, certainly, we stayed at Somerleaze, 
and I retain the impression of a very busy, 
human, energetic man of letters, a good 
Churchman, and a good citizen, brimful of 
likes and dislikes, and waving his red beard 
often as a flag of battle in many a hot 
skirmish, especially with J. R. G., but 
always warm-hearted and generally placable 
except in the case of James Anthony 
Froude. The feud between Freeman and 
Froude was, of course, a standing dish in the 
educated world of half a century ago. It 
may be argued that the Muse of History has 
not decided the quarrel quite according to 
justice; that Clio has shown herself some- 
thing of a jade in the matter, as easily 
influenced by fair externals as a certain 
Helen was long ago. How many people now 
read the Norman Conquest except the few 
scholars who devote themselves to the same 
period? Whereas Froude's History, with 
all its sins, lives, and in my belief will long 
live, because the man who wrote it was a 
writer and understood his art. 

Of Bishop Stubbs, the greatest historical 
name surely in the England of the last half of 
the nineteenth century, I did not personally 
see much while we lived in Oxford and he 

199 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

was Regius Professor. He had no gifts it 
was his chief weakness as a teacher for 
creating a young school around him, setting 
one man to work on this job, and another on 
that, as has been done with great success in 
many instances abroad. He was too re- 
served, too critical, perhaps too sensitive. 
But he stood as a great influence in the back- 
ground, felt if not seen. A word of praise 
from him meant everything; a word of con- 
demnation, in his own subjects, settled the 
matter. I remember well, after I had writ- 
ten a number of articles on early Spanish 
Kings and Bishops, for a historical Diction- 
ary, and they were already in proof, how 
on my daily visits to the Bodleian I began to 
be puzzled by the fact that some of the very 
obscure books I had been using were "out" 
when I wanted them, or had been abstracted 
from my table by one of the sub-librarians. 
Joannes Bidarensis he was missing! Who 
in the world could want that obscure chron- 
icle of an obscure period but myself? I 
began to envisage some hungry German 
Privatdozent, on his holiday, raiding my poor 
little subject, and my books, with a view 
to his Doctor's thesis. Then one morning, 
as I went in, I came across Doctor Stubbs, 
with an ancient and portly volume under his 

arm. Joannes Bidarensis himself! I knew 

200 



it at once. The Professor gave me a friendly 
nod, and I saw a twinkle in his eye as we 
passed. Going to my desk, I found another 
volume gone this time the Acts of the 
Councils of Toledo. So far as I knew, not the 
most ardent Churchman in Oxford felt at 
that time any absorbing interest in the 
Councils of Toledo. At any rate, I had 
been left in undisturbed possession of them 
for months. Evidently something was hap- 
pening, and I sat down to my work in 
bewilderment. 

Then, on my way home, I ran into a fellow- 
worker for the Dictionary a well-known 
don and history tutor. "Do you know 
what's happened?" he said, in excitement. 
"Stubbs has been going through our work! 
The Editor wanted his imprimatur before 
the final printing. Can't expect anybody 
but Stubbs to know all these things! My 
books are gone, too." We walked up to the 
Parks together in a common anxiety, like a 
couple of school-boys in for Smalls. Then 
in a few days the tension was over; my books 
were on my desk again; the Professor 
stopped me in the Broad with a smile, and 
the remark that Joannes Biclarensis was 
really quite an interesting fellow, and I re- 
ceived a very friendly letter from the Editor 

of the Dictionary. 

201 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

And perhaps I may be allowed, after 
these forty years, one more recollection, 
though I am afraid a proper reticence would 
suppress it! A little later "Mr. Creighton" 
came to visit us, after his immigration to 
Embleton and the north ; and I timidly gave 
him some lives of West-Gothic Kings and 
Bishops to read. He read them they were 
very long and terribly minute and put 
down the proofs, without saying much. 
Then he walked down to Oxford with my 
husband, and sent me back a message by 
him: "Tell M. to go on. There is nobody 
but Stubbs doing such work in Oxford now." 
The thrill of pride and delight such words 
gave me may be imagined. But there were 
already causes at work why I should not 
"go on." 

I shall have more to say presently about 
the work on the origins of modern Spain. 
It was the only thorough "discipline" I ever 
had; it lasted about two years years of 
incessant, arduous work, and it led directly 
to the writing of Robert Elsmere. But before 
and after, how full life was of other things! 
The joys of one's new home, of the children 
that began to patter about it, of every bit of 
furniture and blue pot it contained, each 

representing some happy chasse or special 

202 " 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

earning of its garden of half an acre, where 
I used to feel as Hawthorne felt in the gar- 
den of the Concord Manse amazement that 
Nature should take the trouble to produce 
things as big as vegetable marrows, or as 
surprising as scarlet runners that topped one's 
head, just that we might own and eat them. 
Then the life of the University town, with 
all those marked antagonisms I have de- 
scribed, those intellectual and religious move- 
ments, that were like the meeting currents of 
rivers in a lake; and the pleasure of new 
friendships, where everybody was equal, no- 
body was rich, and the intellectual average 
was naturally high. In those days, too, a 
small group of women of whom I was one 
were laying the foundations of the whole 
system of women's education in Oxford. 
Mrs. Creighton and I, with Mrs. Max Miil- 
ler, were the secretaries and founders of the 
first organized series of lectures for women 
in the University town; I was the first 
secretary of Somerville Hall, and it fell to 
me, by chance, to suggest the name of the 
future college. My friends and I were all 
on fire for women's education, including 
women's medical education, and very emu- 
lous of Cambridge, where the movement 
was already far advanced. 
But hardly any of us were at all on fire 

203 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

for woman suffrage, wherein the Oxford edu- 
cational movement differed greatly from the 
Cambridge movement. The majority, cer- 
tainly, of the group to which I belonged at 
Oxford were at that time persuaded that the 
development of women's power in the State 
or rather, in such a state as England, with 
its far-reaching and Imperial obligations, 
resting ultimately on the sanction of war 
should be on lines of its own. We believed 
that growth through Local Government, and 
perhaps through some special machinery for 
bringing the wishes and influence of women 
of all classes to bear on Parliament, other 
than the Parliamentary vote, was the real 
line of progress. However, I shall return 
to this subject on some future occasion, in 
connection with the intensified suffragist 
campaign which began about ten years ago 
(1907-08) and in which I took some part. 
I will only note here my first acquaintance 
with Mrs. Fawcett. I see her so clearly as 
a fresh, picturesque figure in a green silk 
dress and a necklace of amber beads, when 
she came down to Oxford in the mid-'seventies 
to give a course of lectures in the series that 
Mrs. Creighton and I were organizing, and 
I remember well the atmosphere of sympathy 
and admiration which surrounded her as she 
spoke to an audience in which many of us 

204 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

were well acquainted with the heroic story 
of Mr. Fawcett's blindness, and of the part 
played by his wife in enabling him to con- 
tinue his economic and Parliamentary work. 
But life then was not all lectures! nor 
was it all Oxford. There were vacations, and 
vacations generally meant for us some weeks, 
at least, of travel, even when pence were 
fewest. The Christmas vacation of 1874 
we were in Paris. The weather was bitter, 
and we were lodged, for cheapness' sake, in 
an old-fashioned hotel, where the high cano- 
pied beds with their mountainous duvets 
were very difficult to wake up in on a cold 
morning. But in spite of snow and sleet 
we filled our days to the brim. We took 
with us some introductions from Oxford 
to Madame Mohl, the Renans, the Gaston 
Parises, the Boutmys, the Ribots, and, from 
my Uncle Matthew, to the Scherers at 
Versailles. Monsieur Taine was already 
known to us, and it was at their house, on 
one of Madame Taine's Thursdays, that I 
first heard French conversation at its best. 
There was a young man there, dark-eyed, 
dark-haired, to whom I listened not always 
able to follow the rapid French in which he 
and two other men were discussing some 
literary matter of the moment, but conscious, 
for the first time, of what the conversation of 

205 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

intellectual equals might be, if it were always 
practised as the French are trained to practise 
it from their mother's milk, by the influence 
of a long tradition. The young man was 
M. Paul Bourget, who had not yet begun 
to write novels, while his literary and 
philosophical essays seemed rather to mark 
him out as the disciple of M. Taine than as 
the Catholic protagonist he was soon to be- 
come. M. Bourget did not then speak 
English, and my French conversation, which 
had been wholly learned from books, had a 
way at that time and, alack! has still of 
breaking down under me, just as one reached 
the thing one really wanted to say. So that 
I did not attempt to do more than listen. 
But I seem to remember that those with 
whom he talked were M. Francis Charmes, 
then a writer on the staff of the Debats, and 
afterward the editor of the Revue des deux 
Mondes in succession to M. Brunetiere; and 
M. Gaston Paris, the brilliant head of French 
philology at the College de France. What 
struck me then, and through all the new 
experiences and new acquaintanceships of our 
Christmas fortnight, wa's that strenuous and 
passionate intensity of the French temper, 
which foreign nations so easily lose sight of, 
but which, in truth, is as much part of the 
French nature as their gaiety, or as what 

206 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

seems to us their frivolity. The war of 1870, 
the Commune, were but three years behind 
them. Germany had torn from them Alsace- 
Lorraine; she had occupied Paris; and their 
own Jacobins had ruined and burned what 
even Germany had spared. In the minds of 
the intellectual class there lay deep, on the 
one hand, a determination to rebuild France; 
on the other, to avenge her defeat. The 
blackened ruins of the Tuileries and of the 
Cour des Comptes still disfigured a city 
which grimly kept them there as a warning 
against anarchy; while the statue of the 
Ville de Strasbourg in the Place de la Con- 
corde had worn for three years the funeral 
garlands, which, as France confidently hopes, 
the peace that will end this war will, after 
nearly half a century, give way once more to 
the rejoicing tricolor. At the same time 
reconstruction was everywhere beginning 
especially in the field of education. The cor- 
rupt, political influence of the Empire, which 
had used the whole educational system of the 
country for the purpose of keeping itself and 
its supporters in ^ower, was at an end. 
The recognized "Ecole Normale" was be- 
coming a source of moral and mental strength 
among thousands of young men and women; 
and the "Ecole des Sciences politiques," the 
joint work of Taine, Renan, and M. Boutmy, 

207 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

its first director, was laying foundations 
whereof the results are to be seen conspicu- 
ously to-day, in French character, French 
resource, French patience, French science, as 
this hideous war has revealed them. 

I remember an illuminating talk with 
M. Renan himself on this subject during our 
visit. We had never yet seen him, and we 
carried an introduction to him from Max 
Miiller, our neighbor and friend in Oxford. 
We found him alone, in a small working- 
room crowded with books, at the College de 
France. Madame Renan was away, and he 
had abandoned his large library for some- 
thing more easily warmed. My first sight of 
him was something of a shock of the large, 
ungainly figure, the genial face with its 
spreading cheeks and humorous eyes, the 
big head with its scanty locks of hair. I 
think he felt an amused and kindly interest 
in the two young folk from Oxford who had 
come as pilgrims to his shrine, and, realizing 
that our French was not fluent and our shy- 
ness great, he filled up the time and the 
gaps by a monologue, lit up by many 
touches of Renanesque humor, on the situa- 
tion in France. 

First, as to literature "No, we have no 
genius, no poets or writers of the first rank 
just now at least so it seems to me. But we 

208 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

work nous travaillons beaucoupf Ce sera 
notre salut." It was the same as to politics. 
He had no illusions and few admirations. 
"The Chamber is full of mediocrities. We 
are governed by avocats and pharmadens. 
But at least Us ne feront pas la guerre!" 

He smiled, but there was that in the 
smile and the gesture which showed the 
smart within; from which not even his 
scholar's philosophy, with its ideal of a 
world of cosmopolitan science, could protect 
him. At that moment he was inclined to 
despair of his country. The mad adventure 
of the Commune had gone deep into his 
soul, and there were still a good many pacify- 
ing years to run, before he could talk of his 
life as "cette charmante promenade a tr avers la 
realite" for which, with all it had contained 
of bad and good, he yet thanked the Gods. 
At that time he was fifty-one; he had just 
published L' Antichrist, the most brilliant 
of all the volumes of the "Origines"; and 
he was not yet a member of the French 
Academy. 

I turn to a few other impressions from that 
distant time. One night we were in the 
Theatre Frangais, and Racine's "Phedre" 
was to be given. I at least had never been 
in the Maison de Moliere before, and in such 
matters as acting I possessed, at twenty- 

209 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

three, only a very raw and country-cousinish 
judgment. There had been a certain amount 
of talk in Oxford of a new and remarkable 
French actress, but neither of us had really 
any idea of what was before us. Then the 
play began. And before the first act was 
over we were sitting, bent forward, gazing 
at the stage in an intense and concentrated 
excitement such as I can scarcely remember 
ever feeling again, except perhaps when the 
same actress played "Hernani" in London 
for the first time in 1884. Sarah Bernhardt 
was then December, 1874 in the first full 
tide of her success. She was of a ghostly 
and willowy slenderness. Each of the great 
speeches seemed actually to rend the delicate 
frame. When she fell back after one of them 
you felt an actual physical terror lest there 
should not be enough life left in the slight, 
dying woman to let her speak again. And 
you craved for yet more and more of the 
voix d'or which rang in one's ears as the 
frail yet exquisite instrument of a mighty 
music. Never before had it been brought 
home to me what dramatic art might be, or 
the power of the French Alexandrine. And 
never did I come so near quarreling with 
" Uncle Matt" as when, on our return, after 
having heard my say about the genius of 

Sarah Bernhardt, he patted my hand in- 

210 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

dulgently with the remark, "But, my dear 
child, you see, you never saw Rachel!" 

As we listened to Sarah Bernhardt we 
were watching the outset of a great career 
which had still some forty years to run. 
On another evening we made acquaintance 
with a little old woman who had been born 
in the first year of the Terror, who had spent 
her first youth in the salon of Madame 
Recamier, valued there, above all, for her 
difficult success in drawing a smile from that 
old and melancholy genius, Chateaubriand; 
and had since held a salon of her own, which 
deserves a special place in the history of 
salons. For it was held, according to the 
French tradition, and in Paris, by an Eng- 
lishwoman. It was, I think, Max Miiller 
who gave us an introduction to Madame 
Mohl. She sent us an invitation to one of 
her Friday evenings, and we duly mounted 
to the top of the old house in the Rue du 
Bac which she made famous for so long. 
As we entered the room I saw a small di- 
sheveled figure, gray-headed, crouching be- 
side a grate, with a kettle in her hand. It 
was Madame Mohl then eighty-one who 
was trying to make the fire burn. She just 
raised herself to greet us, with a swift in- 
vestigating glance; and then returned to her 
task of making the tea, in which I endeavored 

I.-15 211 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

to help her. But she did not like to be 
helped, and I soon subsided into my usual 
listening and watching, which, perhaps, for 
one who at that time was singularly imma- 
ture in all social respects, was the best 
policy. I seem still to see the tall, sub- 
stantial form of Julius Mohl standing be- 
hind her, with various other elderly men who 
were no doubt famous folk, if one had known 
their names. And in the corner was the 
Spartan tea-table, with its few biscuits, 
which stood for the plain living whereon 
was nourished the high thinking and high 
talking which had passed through these 
rooms. Guizot, Cousin, Ampere, Fauriel, 
Mignet, Lamartine, all the great men of the 
middle century had talked there; not, in 
general, the poets and the artists, but the 
politicians, the historians, and the savants. 
The little Fairy Blackstick, incredibly old, 
kneeling on the floor, with the shabby dress 
and tousled gray hair, had made a part of 
the central scene in France, through the 
Revolution, the reign of the Citizen king, 
and the Second Empire playing the role, 
through it all, of a good friend of freedom. 
If only one had heard her talk! But there 
were few people in the room, and we were 
none of us inspired. I must sadly put down 

that Friday evening among the lost oppor- 

212 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

tunities of life. For Mrs. Simpson's biog- 
raphy of Madame Mohl shows what a wealth 
of wit and memory there was in that small 
head! Her social sense, her humor, never 
deserted her, though she lived to be ninety. 
When she was dying, her favorite cat, a torn, 
leaped on her bed. Her eyes lit up as she 
feebly stroked him. "He is so distin- 
guished!" she whispered. "But his wife is 
not distinguished at all. He doesn't know 
it. But many men are like that." It was 
one of the last sayings of an expert in the 
human scene. 

Madame Mohl was twenty-one when the 
Allies entered Paris in 1814. She had lived 
with those to whom the fall of the Ancien 
Regime, the Terror, and the Revolutionary 
wars had been the experience of middle life. 
As I look back to the salon in the Rue du 
Bac, which I saw in such a flash, yet where 
my hand rested for a moment in that of 
Madame Re"camier's pet and protegee, I am 
reminded, too, that I once saw, at the 
Forsters', in 1869, when I was eighteen, the 
Doctor Lushington who was Lady Byron's 
adviser and confidant when she left her 
husband, and who, as a young man, had 
stayed with Pitt and ridden out with Lady 
Hester Stanhope. One night, in Eccleston 

Square, we assembled for dinner in the 

213 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ground-floor library instead of the drawing- 
room, which was up-stairs. I slipped in late, 
and saw in an arm-chair, his hands resting 
on a stick, an old, white-haired man. When 
dinner was announced if I remember right 

he was wheeled into the dining-room, to a 
place beside my aunt. I was too far away 
to hear him talk, and he went home after 
dinner. But it was one of the guests of the 
evening, a friend of his, who said to me 
with a kindly wish, no doubt, to thrill the 
girl just "out": "You ought to remember 
Doctor Lushington! What are you? eigh- 
teen? and he is eighty-six. He was in the 
theater on the night when the news reached 
London of Marie Antoinette's execution, and 
he can remember, though he was only a boy 
of eleven, how it was given out from the 
stage, and how the audience instantly broke 
up." 

Doctor Lushington, of course, carries one 
farther back than Madame Mohl. He was 
born in 1782, four years after the deaths of 
Rousseau and Voltaire, two years before the 
death of Diderot. He was only six years 
younger than Lady Hester Stanhope, whose 
acquaintance he made during the three years 

1803-1806 when she was keeping house 
for her uncle, William Pitt. 

But on my right hand at the same dinner- 

214 



EARLY MARRIED LIFE 

party there sat a guest who was to mean a 
good deal more to me personally than Doctor 
Lushington young Mr. George Otto Tre- 
velyan, as he then was, Lord Macaulay's 
nephew, already the brilliant author of 
A Competition Wallah, Ladies in Parliament, 
and much else. We little thought, as we 
talked, that after thirty-five years his son 
was to marry my daughter. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

IF these are to be the recollections of a 
* writer, in which perhaps other writers by 
profession, as well as the more general pub- 
lic, may take some interest, I shall perhaps 
be forgiven if I give some account of the 
processes of thought and work which led to 
the writing of my first successful novel, 
Robert Elsmere. 

It was in 1878 that a new editor was ap- 
pointed for one of the huge well-known vol- 
umes, in which under the aegis of the John 
Murray of the day, the Nineteenth Century 
was accustomed to concentrate its knowledge 
classical, historical, and theological in 
convenient, if not exactly handy, form. 
Doctor Wace, now a Canon of Canterbury, 
was then an indefatigable member of the 
Times staff. Yet he undertook this extra 
work, and carried it bravely through. He 
came to Oxford to beat up recruits for 
Smith's Dictionary of Christian Biography, a 
companion volume to that of Classical Biog- 
raphy, and dealing with the first seven cen- 
turies of Christianity. He had been told 

216 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

that I had been busying myself with early 
Spain, and he came to me to ask whether 
I would take the Spanish lives for the 
period, especially those concerned with the 
West-Goths in Spain; while at the same 
time he applied to various Oxford histori- 
ans for work on the Ostrogoths and the 
Franks. 

I was much tempted, but I had a good deal 
to consider. The French and Spanish read- 
ing it involved was no difficulty. But the 
power of reading Latin rapidly, both the de- 
graded Latin of the fifth and sixth centuries 
and the learned Latin of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth, was essential; and I had only 
learned some Latin since my marriage, and 
was by no means at home in it. I had long 
since found out, too, in working at the 
Spanish literature of the eleventh to the 
fourteenth century, that the only critics and 
researches worth following in that field 
were German; and though I had been fairly 
well grounded in German at school, and had 
read a certain amount, the prospect of a 
piece of work which meant, in the main, 
Latin texts and German commentaries, was 
rather daunting. The well-trained woman 
student of the present day would have felt 
probably no such qualms. But I had not 
been well trained; and the Pattison stand- 

217 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

ards of what work should be stood like 
dragons in the way. 

However, I took the plunge, and I have 
always been grateful to Canon Wace. The 
sheer, hard, brain-stretching work of the two 
or three years which followed I look back 
to now with delight. It altered my whole 
outlook and gave me horizons and sym- 
pathies that I have never lost, however dim 
all the positive knowledge brought me by the 
work has long since become. The strange 
thing was that out of the work which seemed 
both to myself and others to mark the 
abandonment of any foolish hopes of novel- 
writing I might have cherished as a girl, 
Robert Elsmere should have arisen. For 
after my marriage I had made various at- 
tempts to write fiction. They were clearly 
failures. J. R. G. dealt very faithfully with 
me on the subject; and I could only conclude 
that the instinct to tell stories which had 
been so strong in me as a child and girl 
meant nothing, and was to be suppressed. 
I did, indeed, write a story for my children, 
which came out in 1880 Milly and Oily; but 
that wrote itself and was a mere transcript 
of their little lives. 

And yet I venture to think it was, after 
all, the instinct for " making out," as the 

Brontes used to call their own wonderful 

218 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

story-telling passion, which rendered this his- 
torical work so enthralling to me. Those 
far-off centuries became veritably alive to 
me the Arian kings fighting an ever-losing 
battle against the ever-encroaching power of 
the Catholic Church, backed by the still 
lingering and still potent ghost of the Roman 
Empire; the Catholic Bishops gathering, 
sometimes through winter snow, to their 
Councils at Seville and Toledo; the centers 
of culture in remote corners of the peninsula, 
where men lived with books and holy things, 
shrinking from the wild life around them, 
and handing on the precious remnants and 
broken traditions of the older classical world; 
the mutual scorn of Goth and Roman; 
martyrs, fanatics, heretics, nationalists, and 
cosmopolitans; and, rising upon, enveloping 
them all, as the seventh and eighth cen- 
turies drew on, the tide of Islam, and the 
menace of that time when the great church 
of Cordova should be half a mosque and 
half a Christian cathedral. 

I lived, indeed, in that old Spain, while I 
was at work in the Bodleian and at home. 
To spend hours and days over the signatures 
to an obscure Council, identifying each 
name so far as the existing materials allowed, 
and attaching to it some fragment of human 

interest, so that gradually something of a 

219 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

picture emerged, as of a thing lost and 
recovered dredged up from the deeps of 
time that, I think, was the joy of it 
aU. 

I see, in memory, the small Oxford room, 
as it was on a winter evening, between nine 
and midnight, my husband in one corner 
preparing his college lectures, or writing a 
"Saturday" "middle"; my books and I in 
another; the reading-lamp, always to me a 
symbol of peace and "recollection"; the 
Oxford quiet outside. And yet, it was not 
so tranquil as it looked. For beating round 
us all the time were the spiritual winds of an 
agitated day. The Oxford of thought was 
not quiet; it was divided, as I have shown, 
by sharper antagonisms and deeper feuds than 
exist to-day. Darwinism was penetrating 
everywhere; Pusey was preaching against its 
effects on belief; Balliol stood for an un- 
fettered history and criticism, Christ Church 
for authority and creeds; Kenan's Origines 
were still coming out, Strauss's last book also; 
my uncle was publishing God and the Bible 
in succession to Literature and Dogma; and 
Supernatural Religion was making no small 
stir. And meanwhile what began to interest 
and absorb me were sources testimony. To 
what to whom did it all go back, this 
great story of early civilization, early religion, 

220 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

which modern men could write and interpret 
so differently? 

And on this question the writers and his- 
torians of four early centuries, from the fifth 
to the ninth, as I lived with them, seemed 
to throw a partial, but yet a searching, light. 
I have expressed it in Robert Elsmere. 
Langham and Robert, talking in the Squire's 
library on Robert's plans for a history of 
Gaul during the breakdown of the Empire 
and the emergence of modern France, come 
to the vital question: " History depends on 
testimony. What is the nature and virtue of 
testimony at given times? In other words, 
did the man of the third century understand, 
or report, or interpret facts in the same way 
as the man of the sixteenth or the nineteenth? 
And if not, what are the differences? and 
what are the deductions to be made irom 
them?" 

Robert replies that his work has not yet 
dug deep enough to make him answer the 
question. 

"It is enormously important, I grant 
enormously," he repeated, reflectively. 

On which Langham says to himself, though 
not to Elsmere, that the whole of "ortho- 
doxy" is in it, and depends on it. 

And in a later passage, when Elsmere is 

mastering the "Quellen" of his subject, he 

221 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

expresses himself with bewilderment to Cath- 
erine on this same subject of " testimony." 
He is immersed in the chronicles and biog- 
raphies of the fifth and sixth centuries. 
Every history, every biography, is steeped 
in marvel. A man divided by only a few 
years from the bishop or saint whose life he 
is writing reports the most fantastic miracles. 
What is the psychology of it all? The whole 
age seems to Robert "non-sane." And, 
meanwhile, across and beyond the medieval 
centuries, behind the Christian era itself, the 
modern student looks back inevitably, in- 
voluntarily, to certain Greeks and certain 
Latins, who "represent a forward strain," 
who intellectually "belong to a world ahead 
of them." "You" he says to them "you 
are really my kindred." 

That, after all, I tried to express this in- 
tellectual experience which was, of course, 
an experience of my own not in critical or 
historical work, but in a novel, that is to say 
in terms of human life, was the result of an 
incident which occurred toward the close of 
our lives in Oxford. It was not long after 
the appearance of Supernatural Religion, and 
the rise of that newer school of Biblical 
criticism in Germany expressed by the once- 
honored name of Doctor Harnack. Dar- 
winian debate in the realm of natural science 

222 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

was practically over. The spread of evolu- 
tionary ideas in the fields of history and 
criticism was the real point of interest. Ac- 
cordingly, the University pulpit was often 
filled by men endeavoring " to fit a not very 
exacting science to a very grudging ortho- 
doxy"; and the heat of an ever-strengthen- 
ing controversy was in the Oxford air. 

In 1881, as it happened, the Bampton 
Lectures were preached by the Rev. John 
Wordsworth, then Fellow and Tutor of 
Brasenose, and, later, Bishop of Salisbury. 
He and my husband who, before our mar- 
riage, was also a Fellow of Brasenose were 
still tutorial colleagues, and I therefore knew 
him personally, and his first wife, the brilliant 
daughter of the beloved Bodley's Librarian 
of my day, Mr. Coxe. We naturally at- 
tended Mr. Wordsworth's first Bampton. 
He belonged, very strongly, to what I have 
called the Christ Church camp; while we 
belonged, very strongly, to the Balliol camp. 
But no one could fail to respect John Words- 
worth deeply; while his connection with his 
great-uncle, the poet, to whom he bore a 
strong personal likeness, gave him always a 
glamour in my eyes. Still, I remember 
going with a certain shrinking; and it 
was the shock of indignation excited in me 
by the sermon which led directly though 

223 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

after seven intervening years to Robert 
Elsmere. 

The sermon was on "The present unsettle- 
ment in religion"; and it connected the 
"unsettlement" definitely with "sin." The 
"moral causes of unbelief," said the preacher, 
"were (1) prejudice; (2) severe claims of 
religion; (3) intellectual faults, especially 
indolence, coldness, recklessness, pride, and 



avarice." 



The sermon expounded and developed this 
outline with great vigor, and every skeptical 
head received its due buffeting in a tone and 
fashion that now scarcely survive. I sat in 
the darkness under the gallery. The preach- 
er's fine ascetic face was plainly visible in the 
middle light of the church; and while the 
confident priestly voice flowed on, I seemed 
to see, grouped around the speaker, the forms 
of those, his colleagues and contemporaries, 
the patient scholars and thinkers of the 
Liberal host, Stanley, Jowett, Green of 
Balliol, Lewis Nettleship, Henry Sidgwick, 
my uncle, whom he, in truth though per- 
haps not consciously was attacking. My 
heart was hot within me. How could one 
show England what was really going on in 
her midst? Surely the only way was through 
imagination; through a picture of actual 

}ife and conduct; through something as 

224 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

" simple, sensuous, passionate" as one could 
make it. Who and what were the persons 
of whom the preacher gave this grotesque 
account? What was their history? How 
had their thoughts and doubts come to be? 
What was the effect of them on conduct? 

The immediate result of the sermon, how- 
ever, was a pamphlet called Unbelief and Sin: 
a Protest addressed to those who attended the 
Bampton Lecture of Sunday, March 6th. It 
was rapidly written and printed, and was put 
up in the windows of a well-known shop in 
the High Street. In the few hours of its 
public career it enjoyed a very lively sale. 
Then an incident quite unforeseen by its 
author slit its little life! A well-known 
clergyman walked into the shop and asked 
for the pamphlet. He turned it over, and 
at once pointed out to one of the partners 
of the firm in the shop that there was no 
printer's name upon it. The booksellers who 
had produced the pamphlet, no doubt with 
an eye to their large clerical clientele, had 
omitted the printer's name, and the omission 
was illegal. Pains and penalties were threat- 
ened, and the frightened booksellers at once 
withdrew the pamphlet and sent word of 
what had happened to my much-astonished 
self, who had neither noticed the omission 
nor was aware of the law. But Doctor 

225 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Foulkes, the clergyman in question no one 
that knew the Oxford of my day will have 
forgotten his tall, militant figure, with the 
defiant white hair and the long clerical coat, 
as it haunted the streets of the University! 
had only stimulated the tare he seemed to 
have rooted up. For the pamphlet thus 
easily suppressed was really the germ of the 
later book; in that, without attempting 
direct argument, it merely sketched two 
types of character: the character that either 
knows no doubts or has suppressed them, 
and the character that fights its stormy way 
to truth. 

The latter was the first sketch of Robert 
Elsmere. That same evening, at a College 
party, Professor Green came up to me. I 
had sent him the pamphlet the night before, 
and had not yet had a word from him. His 
kind brown eyes smiled upon me as he said 
a hearty "thank you," adding "a capital 
piece of work," or something to that effect; 
after which my spirits were quite equal to 
telling him the story of Doctor Foulkes's raid. 

The year 1880-81, however, was marked 
for me by three other events of quite a dif- 
ferent kind: Monsieur Kenan's visit to Ox- 
ford, my husband's acceptance of a post on 
the staff of the Times, and a visit that we 

226 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

paid to the W. E. Forsters in Ireland, in 
December, 1880, at almost the blackest mo- 
ment of the Irish land-war. 

Of Kenan's visit I have mingled memories 
all pleasant, but some touched with com- 
edy. Gentle Madame Renan came with her 
famous husband and soon won all hearts. 
Oxford in mid-April was then, as always, a 
dream of gardens just coming into leaf, en- 
chasing buildings of a silvery gray, and full 
to the brim of the old walls with the early 
blossom almond, or cherry, or flowering 
currant. M. Renan was delivering the Hib- 
bert Lectures in London, and came down to 
stay for a long week-end with our neighbors, 
the Max MiiUers. Doctor Hatch was then 
preaching the Bampton Lectures, that first 
admirable series of his on the debt of the 
Church to Latin organization, and M. Renan 
attended one of them. He had himself just 
published Marc Aurek, and Doctor Hatch's 
subject was closely akin to that of his own 
Hibbert Lectures. I remember seeing him 
emerge from the porch of St. Mary's, his 
strange, triangular face pleasantly dreamy. 
"You were interested?" said some one at 
his elbow. "Mais oui!" said M. Renan, 
smiling. "He might have given my lecture, 
and I might have preached his sermon! 
(Nous aurions du changer de cahiers!)" Re- 

,.-16 227 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

nan in the pulpit of Pusey, Newman, and 
Burgon would indeed have been a spectacle 
of horror to the ecclesiastical mind. I re- 
member once, many years after, following 
the parroco of Castel Gandolfo, through the 
dreary and deserted rooms of the Papal villa, 
where, before 1870, the Popes used to make 
villegiatura, on that beautiful ridge over- 
looking the Alban lake. All the decoration 
of the villa seemed to me curiously tawdry 
and mean. But suddenly my attention was 
arrested by a great fresco covering an entire 
wall. It represented the triumph of the 
Papacy over the infidel of all dates. A Pope 
sat enthroned, wearing the triple crown, with 
angels hovering overhead; and in a huge 
brazier at his feet burned the writings of the 
world's heretics. The blazing volumes were 
inscribed Arius Luther Voltaire 
Renan! 

We passed on through the empty rooms, 
and the parroco locked the door behind us. 
I thought, as we walked away, of the summer 
light fading from the childish picture, painted 
probably not long before the entry of the 
Italian troops into Rome, and of all that 
was symbolized by it and the deserted villa, 
to which the "prisoner of the Vatican" no 
longer returns. But at least Rome had 
given Ernest Renan no mean place among 

228 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

her enemies Arius, Luther, Voltaire 
Renan! 

But in truth, Renan, personally, was not 
the enemy of any church, least of all of the 
great Church which had trained his youth. 
He was a born scholar and thinker, in temper 
extremely gentle and scrupulous, and with 
a sense of humor, or rather irony, not unlike 
that of Anatole France, who has learned 
much from him. There was, of course, a 
streak in him of that French paradox, that 
impish trifling with things fundamental, 
which the English temperament dislikes and 
resents; as when he wrote the Abbesse de 
Jouarre, or threw out the whimsical doubt 
in a passing sentence of one of his latest 
books, whether, after all, his life of labor 
and self-denial had been worth while, and 
whether, if he had lived the life of an Epi- 
curean, like Theophile Gautier, he might not 
have got more out of existence. "He was 
really a good and great man," said Jowett, 
writing after his death. But "I regret that 
he wrote at the end of his life that strange 
drama about the Reign of Terror." 

There are probably few of M. Renan's 
English admirers who do not share the re- 
gret. At the same time, there, for all to see, 
is the long life as it was lived of the ever- 
toiling scholar and thinker, the devoted hus- 

229 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

band and brother, the admirable friend. 
And certainly, during the Oxford visit I re- 
member, M. Renan was at his best. He 
was in love apparently with Oxford, and 
his charm, his gaiety, played over all that we 
presented to him. I recall him in Wadham 
Gardens, wandering in a kind of happy 
dream "Ah, if one had only such places as 
this to work in, in France! What pages 
and how perfect! one might write here!" 
Or again, in a different scene, at luncheon 
in our little house in the Parks, when Oxford 
was showing, even more than usual, its 
piteous inability to talk decently to the great 
man in his own tongue. It is true that he 
neither understood ours in conversation 
nor spoke a word of it. But that did not at 
all mitigate our own shame and surprise! 
For at that time, in the Oxford world proper, 
everybody, probably, read French habitually, 
and many of us thought we spoke it. But 
a mocking spirit suggested to one of the 
guests at this luncheon-party an energetic 
historical tutor the wish to enlighten M. 
Renan as to how the University was gov- 
erned, the intricacies of Convocation and 
Congregation, the Hebdomadal Council, and 
all the rest. The other persons present fell 
at first breathlessly silent, watching the gal- 
lant but quite hopeless adventure. Then, 

230 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

in sheer sympathy with a good man in 
trouble, one after another we rushed in to 
help, till the constitution of the University 
must have seemed indeed a thing of Bedlam 
to our smiling but much-puzzled guest; and 
all our cheeks were red. But M. Renan cut 
the knot. Since he could not understand, 
and we could not explain, what the constitu- 
tion of Oxford University was, he suavely 
took up his parable as to what it should be. 
He drew the ideal University, as it were, in 
the clouds; clothing his notion, as he went 
on, in so much fun and so much charm, that 
his English hosts more than forgot their own 
defeat in his success. The little scene has 
always remained with me as a crowning in- 
stance of the French genius for conversation. 
Throw what obstacles in the way you please ; 
it will surmount them all. 

To judge, however, from M. Kenan's 
letter to his friend, M. Berthelot, written 
from Oxford on this occasion, he was not 
so much pleased as we thought he was, or 
as we were with him. He says, "Oxford is 
the strangest relic of the past, the type of 
living death. Each of its colleges is a terres- 
trial paradise, but a deserted Paradise." (I 
see from the date that the visit took place 
in the Easter vacation!) And he describes 
the education given as "purely humanist 

231 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

and clerical," administered to "a gilded 
youth that comes to chapel in surplices. 
There is an almost total absence of the 
scientific spirit." And the letter further 
contains a mild gibe at All Souls, for its 
absentee Fellows. "The lawns are admi- 
rable, and the Fellows eat up the college 
revenues, hunting and shooting up and down 
England. Only one of them works my kind 
host, Max Miiller." 

At that moment the list of the Fellows of 
All Souls contained the names of men who 
have since rendered high service to England; 
and M. Renan was probably not aware that 
the drastic reforms introduced by the two 
great University Commissions of 1854 and 
1877 had made the sarcastic picture he drew 
for his friend not a little absurd. No 
doubt a French intellectual will always feel 
that the mind-life of England is running at 
a slower pace than that of his own country. 
But if Renan had worked for a year in Ox- 
ford, the old priestly training in him, based so 
solidly on the moral discipline of St. Nicholas 
and St. Sulpice, would have become aware 
of much else. I like to think that he would 
have echoed the verdict on the Oxford under- 
graduate of a young and brilliant French- 
man who spent much time at Oxford fifteen 
years later. " There is no intellectual elite 

232 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

here so strong as ours (i. e., among French 
students)," says M. Jacques Bardouz, "but 
they undoubtedly have a political elite, and, 
a much rarer thing, a moral elite. . . . 
What an environment ! and how full is this 
education of moral stimulus and force!" 

Has not every word of this been justified to 
the letter by the experience of the war? 

After the present cataclysm, we know 
very well that we shall have to improve and 
extend our higher education. Only, in build- 
ing up the new, let us not lose grip upon the 
irreplaceable things of the old! 

It was not long after M. Kenan's visit that, 
just as we were starting for a walk on a May 
afternoon, the second post brought my hus- 
band a letter which changed our lives. It 
contained a suggestion that my husband 
should take work on the Times as a member 
of the editorial staff. We read it in amaze- 
ment, and walked on to Port Meadow. It 
was a fine day. The river was alive with 
boats; in the distance rose the towers and 
domes of the beautiful city; and the Oxford 
magic blew about us in the summer wind. 
It seemed impossible to leave the dear Oxford 
life! All the drawbacks and difficulties of 
the new proposal presented themselves; 
hardly any of the advantages. As for me, 

233 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

I was convinced we must and should refuse, 
and I went to sleep in that conviction. 

But the mind travels far and mysteri- 
ously in sleep. With the first words that 
my husband and I exchanged in the morning, 
we knew that the die was cast and that our 
Oxford days were over. 

The rest of the year was spent in prepara- 
tion for the change; and in the Christmas 
vacation of 1880-81 my husband wrote his 
first ' i leaders ' ' for the paper . But before that 
we went for a week to Dublin to stay with 
the Forsters, at the Chief Secretary's Lodge. 

A visit I shall never forget! It was the 
first of the two terrible winters my uncle 
spent in Dublin as Chief Secretary, and the 
struggle with the Land League was at its 
height. Boycotting, murder, and outrage 
filled the news of every day. Owing to the 
refusal of the Liberal Government to renew 
the Peace Preservation Act when they took 
office in 1880 a disastrous but perhaps in- 
telligible mistake the Chief Secretary, when 
we reached Dublin, was facing an agrarian 
and political revolt of the most determined 
character, with nothing but the ordinary 
law, resting on juries and evidence, as his in- 
strument an instrument which the Irish 
Land League had taken good care to shatter 

in his hands. Threatening letters were flow- 

234 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

ing in upon both himself and my godmother; 
and the tragedy of 1882, with the revelations 
as to the various murder plots of the time, 
to which it led, were soon to show how ter- 
rible was the state of the country and how 
real the danger in which he personally stood. 
But, none the less, social life had to be car- 
ried on; entertainments had to be given; and 
we went over, if I remember right, for the 
two Christmas balls to be given by the Chief 
Secretary and the Viceroy. On myself, 
fresh from the quiet Oxford life, the Irish 
spectacle, seen from such a point of view, 
produced an overwhelming impression. And 
the dancing, the visits and dinner-parties, 
the keeping up of a brave social show quite 
necessary and right under the circumstances! 
began to seem to me, after only twenty- 
four hours, like some pageant seen under a 
thunder-cloud. 

Mr. Forster had then little more than five 
years to live. He was on the threshold of 
the second year of his Chief -Secretary ship. 
During the first year he had faced the dif- 
ficulties of the position in Ireland, and the 
perpetual attacks of the Irish Members in 
Parliament, with a physical nerve and power 
still intact. I can recall my hot sympathy 
with him during 1880, while with one hand 
he was fighting the Land League and with 

235 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

the other a fact never sufficiently recog- 
nized giving all the help he could to the 
preparation of Mr. Gladstone's second Land 
Act. The position then was hard, some- 
times heartbreaking; but it was not beyond 
his strength. The second year wore him out. 
The unlucky Protection Act an experiment 
for which the Liberal Cabinet and even its 
Radical Members, Mr. Bright and Mr. 
Chamberlain, were every whit as chargeable 
as himself imposed a personal responsi- 
bility on him for every case out of the many 
hundreds of prisoners made under the Act, 
which was in itself intolerable. And while 
he tried in front to dam back the flood of 
Irish outrage, English Radicalism at his heels 
was making the task impossible. What he 
was doing satisfied nobody, least of all him- 
self. The official and land-owning classes in 
Ireland, the Tories in England, raged be- 
cause, in spite of the Act, outrage continued; 
the Radical party in the country, which had 
always disliked the Protection Act, and the 
Radical press, were on the lookout for every 
sign of failure; while the daily struggle in 
the House with the Irish Members while 
Parliament was sitting, in addition to all the 
rest, exhausted a man on whose decision 
important executive acts, dealing really with 
a state of revolution, were always depending. 

236 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

All through the second year, as it seemed to 
me, he was overwhelmed by a growing sense 
of a monstrous and insoluble problem, to 
which no one, through nearly another forty 
years not Mr. Gladstone with his Home 
Rule Acts, as we were soon to see, nor Mr. 
Balfour's wonderful brain-power sustained 
by a unique temperament was to find the 
true key. It is not found yet. Twenty 
years of Tory Government practically solved 
the Land Question and agricultural Ireland 
has begun to be rich. But the past year 
has seen an Irish rebellion; a Home Rule 
Act has at last, after thirty years, been 
passed, and is dead before its birth; while 
at the present moment an Irish Convention 
is sitting. 1 Thirty-six years have gone since 
my husband and I walked with William 
Forster through the Phoenix Park, over the 
spot where, a year later, Lord Frederick 
Cavendish and Mr. Burke were murdered. 
And still the JEschylean " curse" goes on, 
from life to life, from Government to Gov- 
ernment. When will the Furies of the past 
become the "kind goddesses" of the future 
and the Irish and English peoples build them 
a shrine of reconciliation? 

1 These words were written in the winter of 1917. At the pres- 
ent moment (June, 1918) we have just seen the deportation 
of the Sinn Feiners, and are still expecting yet another Home 
Rule BUI! 

237 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

With such thoughts one looks back over 
the past. Amid its darkness, I shall always 
see the pathetic figure of William Forster, 
the man of Quaker training, at grips with 
murder and anarchy; the man of sensitive, 
affectionate spirit, weighed down under the 
weight of rival appeals, now from the side 
of democracy, now from the side of authority; 
bitterly conscious, as an English Radical, of 
his breach with Radicalism; still more 
keenly sensitive, as a man responsible for 
the executive government of a country, in 
which the foundations had given way, to 
that atmosphere of cruelty and wrong in 
which the Land League moved, and to the 
hideous instances poured every day into his 
ears. 

He bore it for more than a year after we 
saw him in Ireland at his thankless work. 
It was our first year in London, and we were 
near enough to watch closely the progress of 
his fight. But it was a fight not to be won. 
The spring of 1882 saw his resignation on 
May 2d followed on May 6th by the 
Phoenix Park murders and the long and 
gradual disintegration of the powerful Min- 
istry of 1880, culminating in the Home Rule 
disaster of 1886. Mr. Churchill in the Life 
of his father, Lord Randolph, says of Mr. 
Forster's resignation, "he passed out of the 

238 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

Ministry to become during the rest of Parlia- 
ment one of its most dangerous and vigilant 
opponents." The physical change, indeed, 
caused by the Irish struggle, which was for a 
time painfully evident to the House of 
Commons, seemed to pass away with rest and 
travel. The famous attack he made on 
Parnell in the spring of 1883, as the respon- 
sible promoter of outrage in Ireland, showed 
certainly no lack of power rather an in- 
crease. I happened to be in the House the 
following day, to hear Parnell's reply. I 
remember my uncle's taking me down with 
him to the House, and begging a seat for 
me in Mrs. Brand's gallery. The figure of 
Parnell; the speech, nonchalant, terse, de- 
fiant, without a single grace of any kind, his 
hands in the pockets of his coat; and the 
tense silence of the crowded House, remain 
vividly with me. Afterward my uncle came 
up-stairs for me, and we descended toward 
Palace Yard through various side-passages. 
Suddenly a door communicating with the 
House itself opened in front of us, and 
Parnell came out. My uncle pressed my 
arm and we held back, while Parnell passed 
by, somberly absorbed, without betraying 
by the smallest movement or gesture any 
recognition of my uncle's identity. 

In other matters Gordon, Imperial Fed- 

239 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

eration, the Chairmanship of the Manchester 
Ship Canal, and the rest William Forster 
showed, up till 1885, what his friends fondly 
hoped was the promise of renewed and suc- 
cessful work. But in reality he never re- 
covered Ireland. The mark of those two 
years had gone too deep. He died in April, 
1886, just before the introduction of the 
Home Rule Bill, and I have always on the 
retina of the inward eye the impression of 
a moment at the western door of Westmin- 
ster Abbey, after the funeral service. The 
flower-heaped coffin had gone through. My 
aunt and her adopted children followed it. 
After them came Mr. Gladstone, with other 
members of the Cabinet. At the threshold 
Mr. Gladstone moved forward, and took 
my aunt's hand, bending over it bareheaded. 
Then she went with the dead, and he turned 
away toward the House of Commons. To 
those of us who remembered what the rela- 
tions of the dead and the living had once 
been, and how they had parted, there was a 
peculiar pathos in the little scene. 

A few days later Mr. Gladstone brought 
in the Home Rule Bill, and the two stormy 
months followed which ended in the Liberal 
Unionist split and the defeat of the Bill on 
June 7th by thirty votes, and were the 
prelude to the twenty years of Tory Govern- 

240 



THE BEGINNINGS OF ROBERT ELSMERE 

ment. If William Forster had lived, there 
is no doubt that he must have played a lead- 
ing part in the struggles of that and sub- 
sequent sessions. In 1888 Mr. Balfour said 
to my husband, after some generous words 
on the part played by Forster in those two 
terrible years : " Forster's loss was irreparable 
to us [i. e., to the Unionist party]. If he and 
Fawcett had lived, Gladstone could not have 
made head." 

It has been, I think, widely recognized by 
men of all parties in recent years that per- 
sonally William Forster bore the worst of the 
Irish day, whatever men may think of his 
policy. But, after all, it is not for this, 
primarily, that England remembers him. 
His monument is everywhere in the schools 
that have covered the land since 1870, when 
his great Act was passed. And if I have 
caught a little picture from the moment when 
death forestalled that imminent parting 
between himself and the great leader he had 
so long admired and followed, which life 
could only have broadened, let me match it 
by an earlier and happier one, borrowed 
from a letter of my own, written to my 
father when I was eighteen, and describing 
the bringing in of the Education Act. 

He sat down amidst loud cheering. . . . 

241 



A WRITER'S RECOLLECTIONS 

Gladstone pulled him down with a sort of hug of 
delight. It is certain that he is very much 
pleased with the Bill, and, what is of great conse- 
quence, that he thinks the Government has 
throughout been treated with great consideration 
in it. After the debate he said to Uncle F., 
" Well, I think our pair of ponies will run through 
together!" 

Gladstone's " pony "'was, of course, the Land 
Act of 1870. 



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